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Minnesota: Bill on regulating the use of social media for minors passes first reading in House

On May 6, 2024, House Bill 5452 on regulating the use of social media for minors ages 15 and younger and anonymous age verification required for websites harmful to minors was introduced to the Minnesota House of Representatives, passed its first reading, and was referred to the House Commerce Finance and Policy Committee.

Account creation by minors

In particular, the bill prohibits a social media platform from entering into a contract with a minor who is younger than 14 years of age to become an account holder. Regarding minors 14 and 15 years of age, the bill establishes conditions for the provision of consent by the minor's parent or guardian for the account creation.

The bill also highlights cases of account termination and the deletion of personal information held by the social media platform relating to the terminated accounts.

Age verification

The bill outlines, among other things, that anonymous age verification must be used if the website or application contains a substantial portion of material harmful to minors.

Under the bill, the following are exempt from age verification requirements:

  • bona fide news or public interest broadcast, website video, or report; and
  • an internet service provider or its affiliates or subsidiaries, a search engine, or a cloud service provider that solely provides access or connection to or from a website or other information or content on the Internet or a facility, system, or network not under the provider's control.

The bill further states that anonymous age verification:

  • may not retain personal identifying information used to verify age once the age has been verified;
  • may not use personal identifying information used to verify age for any other purpose;
  • must keep anonymous any personal identifying information used to verify age, and the information may not be shared or otherwise communicated to any person; and
  • must protect personal identifying information used to verify age from unauthorized or illegal access, destruction, use, modification, or disclosure through reasonable security procedures and practices appropriate to the nature of the personal information.
Enforcement and entry into force

Lastly, the bill establishes, among other things, that the Attorney General has the authority to bring an action against an entity violating the bill's provisions and to collect a civil penalty of up to $50,000. Claimants may be awarded damages of up to $10,000.

If enacted, the bill will enter into force on August 1, 2024.

You can read the bill, as introduced, here and track its progress here.