Teens get digital "eraser" bill for embarrassing posts

A California proposal would allow under-18s to clear their user history of youthful indiscretions

Neal Ungerleider
September 25, 2013 1:30AM (UTC)

Teenage social media users in California are in luck: A new Internet regulatory bill requires FacebookTumblrTwitter, and other services to offer users under 18–years–old "digital erasers" that permanently scrub any posting they've made previously. The measure is designed to ensure that teens' college, career, and personal prospects aren't harmed by digital indiscretions. According to Melanie Mason and Patrick McGreevy of the Los Angeles Times, the measure requires websites to give underage users tools to permanently delete text, photo, and video postings from sites.

Senate leader Darrell Steinberg told the paper the bill is "a groundbreaking protection for our kids who often act impetuously with postings of ill–advised pictures or messages before they think through the consequences." The regulations jibe with Google chief Eric Schmidt's recent public musings about how the Internet records teens' activities forever in a way prior forms of media and communication didn't. Google, of course, is based in California.


Other parts of the bill include language that prohibits online advertisers from targeting teens with ads for alcohol, tobacco, and guns.

Neal Ungerleider

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