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Scoop: KOSA revamp coming soon

an illustration of kids in front of a giant computer

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The sponsors of the Kids Online Safety Act are gearing up to introduce a new version of the bill, sources told Axios.

Why it matters: The changes are meant to address outstanding concerns with the bill and help get it passed in the Senate.

  • Senate Commerce Committee Chair Maria Cantwell and Ranking Member Ted Cruz are involved in negotiating the changes.
  • Their support is key for scheduling a markup and getting the bill cleared out of committee.

Details: Senators are tackling the bill's enforcement mechanism, which currently empowers state attorneys general to interpret and enforce the legislation.

  • Critics say that could lead to AGs with certain ideologies targeting content they deem harmful, such as content having to do with gender-affirming care or abortion services.
  • The change being considered would shift enforcement from AGs to the Federal Trade Commission, but only for the "duty of care" language.
  • That language makes platforms liable only when it comes to specific harms exacerbated by their product designs and algorithms, such as eating disorders or suicidal behavior.
  • The bill could also include language clarifying KOSA is not a content moderation bill.
  • Cantwell, Cruz and the bill sponsors, Sens. Marsha Blackburn and Richard Blumenthal, did not provide comment.

Other changes being considered include preemption, the duty of care definition and the filter bubble amendment, a provision that would allow users to see content not based on an algorithm.

State of play: There has long been talk of packaging KOSA with a myriad of other bills aimed at protecting kids online.

  • A design safety bill like KOSA is seen as a natural companion to a privacy measure like Sen. Ed Markey's COPPA 2.0.
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