President Biden is pushing to ban advertising and data collection aimed at children, according to his speech at the recent State of the Union Address. As well as talking about the looming war in Ukraine, Biden explained that it is time to "ban targeted advertising to children" that social media platforms are using "for profit".
“We must hold social media platforms accountable for the national experiment they’re conducting on our children for profit,” said President Biden.
“It’s time to strengthen privacy protections, ban targeted advertising to children, demand tech companies stop collecting personal data on our children.”
The condemnation of social media use by children came during a section dedicated to improving the mental health of the American population, particularly after the difficult times of lockdowns and deaths as a result of COVID-19. Biden believes that social media is having a damaging effect on children’s mental health, and aims to address this with a new series of funding.
Seemingly spearheaded by the Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen, the calls come after she testified before congress to implore the government into regulating Facebook, now known as Meta. Haugen attended the event on invitation by First Lady Jill Biden.
Biden now plans to request funding of $5 million from Congress to add to the 2023 budget, which will go towards research into the effects of social media on mental health. A "National Center of Excellence on Social Media and Mental Wellness" will also be set up, particularly focusing on social media’s impacts on adolescents.
"And let’s get all Americans the mental health services they need. More people they can turn to for help, and full parity between physical and mental health care," continued the President.