Civil Society Groups, Legal Scholars and Youth Advocates Condemn Ruling to Block the California Age-Appropriate Design Code

For Immediate Release
September 18, 2023

A coalition of civil society organizations, legal scholars, parents and youth advocates today issued the following statement in response to U.S. District Court Judge Beth Labson Freeman’s decision to block the California Age-Appropriate Design Code (AADC), granting Big Tech trade group NetChoice’s preliminary injunction:

“By calling for safety by design and privacy by default, the Age-Appropriate Design Code serves as a road to accountability for tech companies. Instead, today’s decision gives tech companies a free pass to put profit over kids’ safety online.

“The California AADC prompts tech companies to consider the best interests of children when designing, developing, and offering their online platforms. Almost every product children use from cribs to car seats is regulated so that they will be safe for children. Yet social media companies design their products with little regulation, and children are hurt and even die because these products are not required to be designed for the safety of young users. As Big Tech has shown time and again, they will pull out all the stops to continue to profit off of significant harm to kids and teens with impunity.

“The First Amendment does not shield corporations from accountability for their profit-motivated design decisions that endanger kids’ well-being. The AADC is not about speech or content, it’s about designing safe products. We remain committed to the approach offered in the AADC and strongly support an appeal of this ruling. Big Tech is waging war against children, teens, and families in their effort to avoid accountability for how they design their products. If we cannot demand Big Tech design safer products, how will we ever be able to hold them accountable?”

Members of the Kids Code coalition include 5Rights FoundationAccountable TechAFTCenter for Humane TechnologyCFTChildren and ScreensCommon Sense MediaDesign It For UsEkoFairplayNational Hispanic Media CoalitionParentsTogether Action, Reset.TechTech Oversight Project and the Tech Justice Law Project.

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