The New York Times: Prof. Zephyr Teachout Helps Draft Legislation to Address Social Media Addiction


The New York Times explores why it’s difficult to regulate social media for children, but New York state lawmakers have authored new legislation, with the help of Fordham Law Prof. Zephyr Teachout, who draws on the way gambling is regulated.

Zephyr Teachout, the legal scholar who helped draft the legislation, saw precedent in the way that gambling is regulated. The algorithmic targeting is similar to the kind deployed by slot machines, which over and over supply the tantalizing lineup of oranges and cherries that just keep you pulling the lever, with the elusive jackpot in mind. Any form of online gambling, in fact, as Ms. Teachout pointed out, “involves the algorithmically determined type of content to be delivered, and in most states gambling is prohibited by those under 18.”

Were the law to come under Supreme Court review, a 2011 case in which it struck down a California law banning the sale or rental of violent video games to minors would probably emerge as a reference point. In that instance, even justices who agreed with the majority opinion pointed out that technology changed at high-speed pace, and different circumstances might require a more nuanced approach later on. “They put down a marker that is very relevant to this moment,” Ms. Teachout said. “They said that the court should not simply apply old standards to new and quickly evolving modes of digital media.”

Read “If Your Child Is Addicted to TikTok, This May Be the Cure” in The New York Times.


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