Meta Proposes App Stores Take on Enhanced Role in Protecting Young Users2 min read

In a bold move to address the challenge of safeguarding younger users from harmful content, Meta is putting forth a groundbreaking proposal: advocating for app stores to assume a more substantial responsibility. The suggestion comes from Meta’s Global Head of Safety, Antigone Davis, who believes that involving app stores in a more proactive role can mitigate risks associated with the exposure of teens and younger children to inappropriate material.

The primary focus of this proposal is to counter the current complexity arising from varied state laws in the United States, each imposing different requirements for parental approval and age verification to access specific apps. Meta is advocating for app stores to implement tighter controls and processes, preventing teens from downloading apps without parental consent.

Meta is backing the idea of federal legislation that mandates app stores to notify parents when teens under 16 attempt to download apps, providing an opportunity for parental approval similar to notifications for teen purchase attempts. The proposal aims to streamline the process and introduce a consistent standard across platforms.

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Davis suggests that app stores integrate their own age verification mechanisms for specific apps, alleviating the burden on individual platforms to verify user ages. If an app includes adult elements, parental approval would be mandatory. This centralized approach would not only enhance protection but also provide parents with a comprehensive overview of their teens’ online activities.

While acknowledging that this solution may not be foolproof, Davis sees it as an industry-wide initiative that could add an extra layer of protection and contribute to a more comprehensive security approach. Meta plans to present this proposal to lawmakers as part of a legislative push. If successful, a similar model could be applied to other critical areas such as content moderation and identity verification.

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This groundbreaking proposal signifies a potential paradigm shift in social platform policies, leveraging the influence of app stores as more active gatekeepers in the digital landscape. As discussions unfold, the industry awaits potential changes that could reshape the landscape of online safety for younger users.

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