Federal Judge Blocks State of Arkansas’ Parental Consent Requirements for Social Media

On Thursday a federal judge in Fayetteville blocked the State of Arkansas from requiring social media companies to obtain parental consent before letting children use their products.

In April the Arkansas Legislature passed the Social Media Safety Act — a good law by Sen. Tyler Dees (R – Siloam Springs) and Rep. Jon Eubanks (R – Paris) requiring major social media companies to ensure minors don’t access social media platforms without parental consent. A social media company that violated the law could be held liable.

In response, tech giants — such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok — as well as the ACLU have asked the federal courts to strike down the Social Media Safety Act as unconstitutional.

On Thursday U.S. District Judge Timothy Brooks in Fayetteville blocked the state from enforcing this good law.

Among other things, Judge Brooks’ ruling claims that Arkansas’ Social Safety Act is unconstitutionally broad and vague, and that most social media content is not “damaging, harmful, or obscene as to minors.”

Social media platforms are a product created and managed by social media companies — and more and more evidence shows that social media is harmful to children.

In May the U.S. Surgeon General released a health advisory highlighting the dangers of social media use by children and calling on lawmakers to take action.

The advisory noted that, “Social media may perpetuate body dissatisfaction, disordered eating behaviors, social comparison, and low self-esteem, especially among adolescent girls,” and it encouraged policymakers to take steps to strengthen social media safety standards and limit social media access in ways that make it safer for children and better protect children’s privacy.

Right now, the State of Arkansas is suing Chinese company ByteDance — the parent company of TikTok — for allegedly violating Arkansas’ Deceptive Trade Practices Act.

The State of Arkansas has alleged that that the social media giant failed to fully disclose that TikTok is subject to Chinese law — including “laws that mandate secret cooperation with intelligence activities of the People’s Republic of China” — and that that TikTok “routinely exposes Arkansas consumers’ data, without their knowledge, to access and exploitation by the Chinese Government and Communist Party.”

If that’s true, then that means TikTok might not be respecting the privacy of the millions of teenagers who use TikTok. That’s a serious problem.

The adults who operate these social media platforms should not be able to register children as users and let children post photos and videos on their platforms without parental consent. 

Arkansas’ Social Safety Act is a good law that respects parental rights and protects children online. We believe higher courts will recognize that and uphold this law as constitutional.

Articles appearing on this website are written with the aid of Family Council’s researchers and writers.

Apple Removes Bible and Qur’an from China

Two months ago, Apple quietly removed a Quran app and a Bible App from its app store in China at the request of the Chinese Communist Party. Apple claimed in a statement they had to do it because they have to, quote, “obey local laws.”

This is the same 2.8-trillion-dollar company with an “Inclusion and Diversity” initiative that claims, without a sense of irony, to hold a, quote, “long-standing commitment to making… the world more just.” According to its American website, that means hiring a more racially diverse group of employees. That’s great. It’s unclear how that helps the 1.4 billion people living under increasing religious oppression in China.

This is a good reminder. When companies like Apple throw around the word “inclusive,” it’s because they see a profit opportunity. When companies like Apple are happily complicit in outright oppression, it’s because they won’t risk a profit opportunity. If the day comes when American culture gives Apple an ultimatum: either nix the Bible here or lose your profit, we need only look to China to discover what they’d do.

Copyright 2021 by the Colson Center for Christian Worldview. Reprinted from BreakPoint.org with permission.

We Got Our Facebook Ads Account Back

Back about a month ago Facebook disabled our advertising account without warning and with virtually no explanation. After appealing that decision, we got our advertising account back — again with virtually no explanation.

Family Council is authorized to run political ads on Facebook. From time to time we use our Facebook ad account to boost the stories and videos that we share on social media to make sure that people see them. We’ve never had trouble before with Facebook refusing to approve our ads.

On November 2, Facebook sent us a terse message abruptly disabling our ad account. We requested a review of that decision.

After a few days, Facebook sent us another terse email saying our advertising account had been reinstated.

We asked Facebook for an explanation outlining why our account had been disabled in the first place. But we never received any more information. To this day, we aren’t sure what we did that Facebook felt ran afoul of their advertising standards. We cannot find anything on our Facebook page that violates the social media giant’s policies.

Coincidentally, Facebook’s decision to disable our ad account came shortly after we submitted a request to advertise one of our recent videos about the lawsuit against the Jonesboro Public Library. Nothing in that video violates Facebook’s policy, but it’s the only post we had tried to advertise recently.

For now, though, Family Council’s Facebook advertising account is back online.

All of this underscores two things:

First, that tech companies seem to have virtually no accountability when it comes to suppressing or throttling free speech.

And second, that conservatives should not depend on social media for news and information.

That’s why we encourage all of our friends and supporters to join our traditional mailing list. We’ll send you regular update letters filled with information about current events in Arkansas.

If you aren’t on our regular mailing list, click here, and we will add you to the list today. Our update letters are completely free; we never charge for them.