Gov. Cox signs first bill of the 2024 legislative session

The bill adjusts the date for provisions of the Utah Social Media Regulation Act

SALT LAKE CITY – Gov. Spencer Cox signed the first bill of the 2024 legislative session last week, a bill which makes an amendment to the newly imposed Utah Social Media Regulation Act.

Submitted by the Department of Commerce’s Division of Consumer Protection in October of 2023, the Social Media Regulation act will require parental consent for minor’s usage of several social media platforms, as well as other regulations.

The bill, dubbed SB 89, was introduced by state Senators Kirk Cullimore and Jordan Teuscher.

The bill pushes the date for provisions of the Utah Social Media Regulation Act to social media companies from March 1 to Oct. 1.

“While pushing back the effective date gives us more time to incorporate more feedback into the law, we are as committed as ever to protecting our children from the harms of social media,” Cox said.

The public will now have until October 1 to provide feedback on the new law. Comments made during the public comment period will be reviewed by officials and possibly incorporated into the new law.

In addition to requiring parental consent for minor’s to access social media platforms, the new regulations would require social media companies to verify the age of an adult attempting to make an account; allow parents or guardians full access to their child’s account; create a default curfew setting that blocks access to minor accounts from 10:30 p.m. to 6:30 a.m. which parents can adjust; protect minor accounts from unapproved direct messaging; and block accounts belonging to minors from search results.

“The health and well-being of our kids is at stake, and we take that seriously,” Cox said. “We are eager for the Social Media Regulation Act to take effect. These rules ensure that social media companies prioritize the safety and privacy of Utah’s youth while allowing them the flexibility to select methods that best meet their needs.”

Social media companies will be required to verify a user’s age within 72-hours of subscription, and also provide confirmation to a parent or guardian.

The public may submit comments on the rule and share experiences with minors on social media platforms at socialmedia.utah.gov.

Following the public comment period, the rule has the possibility of being adjusted before going into effect. All social media companies will have to comply with the rule. The Division of Consumer Protection may assess fines of up to $2,500 per violation if a company fails to comply.

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