Reject online censorship. Tell lawmakers to oppose KOSA!

URGENT: Lawmakers are getting closer to passing the Kids Online Safety Act, a bill that endangers online content about LGBTQ resources, reproductive healthcare, and other lifelines for marginalized communities.

KOSA won’t make kids more safe. Instead, it’ll put youth in danger by preventing them from accessing resources they need. Concern about young people’s harm from Big Tech are valid and real, but enabling censorship that harms the most marginalized kids is not the answer. Lawmakers concerned about online safety should reject KOSA and instead work to protect all internet users from abusive tech companies by passing a federal data privacy law and measures that do not threaten online communities that queer and trans youth depend on.

Send a letter to your lawmakers now and tell them to reject KOSA!

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Introduce yourself, be polite, and say:

“Hi, I'm calling to urge you to oppose the Kids Online Safety Act. Because of its duty of care model, this bill would be a threat to free speech online and puts LGBTQ+ kids at further risk by incentivizing social media companies to censor lifesaving resources, in an already scary time for them. If you care about kids' experience online, Congress should pass remove the duty of care from KOSA completely and pass comprehensive privacy legislation that would actually protect kids. ”

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Why is KOSA a bad bill?

KOSA uses two methods to “protect” kids, and both of them are awful.

First, KOSA would allow the government to pressure social media platforms to erase content that could be deemed “inappropriate” for minors. The problem is: there is no consensus on what is inappropriate for minors. All across the country we are seeing how lawmakers are attacking young people’s access to gender affirming healthcare, sex education, birth control, and abortion. Online communities and resources that queer and trans youth depend on as lifelines should not be subject to the whims of the most rightwing extremist powers and we shouldn’t give them another tool to harm marginalized communities. 

Second, KOSA would ramp up the online surveillance of all internet users by expanding the use of age verification and parental monitoring tools. Not only are these tools needlessly invasive, they’re a massive safety risk for young people who could be trying to escape domestic violence and abuse. 

Dozens of LGBTQ+ and civil rights groups agree that KOSA is dangerous and updates to the bill haven’t addressed the core concerns advocates have about its impact on already often censored content and resources.  If you believe in a free and open internet, send a message to your lawmakers right now and tell them to reject KOSA!

I’ve heard there’s a new version of KOSA. What’s the deal?

The new version of KOSA makes some good changes: narrowing the ability of rightwing attorneys general to weaponize KOSA to target content they don’t like and limiting the problematic “duty of care.” However, because the bill is still not content neutral, KOSA still invites the harms that civil rights advocates have warned about.

As LGBTQ and reproductive rights groups have said for months, the fundamental problem with KOSA is that its “duty of care” covers content specific aspects of content recommendation systems, and the new changes fail to address that. In fact, personalized recommendation systems are explicitly listed under the definition of a design feature covered by the duty of care in the new version. This means that a future Federal Trade Commission (FTC) could still use KOSA to pressure platforms into automated filtering of important, but controversial topics like LGBTQ issues and abortion, by claiming that algorithmically recommending such content “causes” mental health outcomes that are covered by the duty of care like anxiety and depression. Bans on inclusive books, abortion, and gender affirming healthcare have been passed on exactly that kind of rhetoric in many states recently. And we know that already existing content filtering systems impact content from marginalized creators exponentially more, resulting in discrimination and censorship.

It’s also important to remember that algorithmic recommendation includes, for example, showing a user a post from a friend that they follow, since most platforms do not show all users all posts, but curate them in some way. As long as KOSA’s duty of care isn’t content neutral, platforms will be likely to react the same way that they did to the broad liability imposed by SESTA/FOSTA: by engaging in aggressive filtering and suppression of important, and in some cases lifesaving, content.

We refuse to accept that trans youth and human rights must be collateral damage in the fight to keep kids safe online. We have to keep up the pressure until this legislation is amended to ensure it will protect all kids, rather than endangering some of the most vulnerable.

Here is the full list of organizations opposed to KOSA:

18 Million Rising

Access Now
Advocacy For Principled Action In Government
Advocates for Youth
American Booksellers for Free Expression
American Civil Liberties Union
Black and Pink National
Center for Democracy & Technology
Defending Rights & Dissent
Don’t Delete Art
EducateUS: SIECUS In Action
Electronic Frontier Foundation
Equality Arizona
Equality Michigan
Equality New Mexico
Equality Texas
Equality Virginia
Fair Wisconsin
Fairness Campaign
Fight for the Future
Free Speech Coalition
Freedom Network USA
Freedom Oklahoma
Hydra Fund
Indivisible Eastside
Indivisible Plus Washington
Internet Society
Lexington Pride Center
LGBT Technology Partnership
Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition
Media Justice
Muslim Alliance for Sexual and Gender Diversity
National Coalition Against Censorship
One Iowa
Open Technology Institute
Organization for Identity and Cultural Development (OICD)

Organization for Transformative Works
Organización Latina Trans in Texas
PDX Privacy
Reframe Health and Justice
Restore The Fourth
SIECUS: Sex Ed for Social Change
St. Louis Queer+ Support Helpline
SWOP Behind Bars
The 6:52 Project Foundation, Inc.
Transgender Education Network of Texas (TENT)
University of Michigan Dearborn – Muslim Student Association
WA People’s Privacy
Woodhull Freedom Foundation
Yale Privacy Lab