Teenagers in California will now have a chance to reset their public persona before applying to jobs or colleges. Governor Jerry Brown signed in to law Senate Bill 568 on Monday. The new law, called the “eraser button” law by some, requires social media sites to allow users under 18 years of age to delete posts and photos that may damage their reputation, according to a Fox News story.
"Kids and teens frequently self-reveal before they self-reflect,” the CEO of Common Sense Media, Jim Steyer, told the Huffington Post. "In today's digital age, mistakes can stay with and haunt kids for their entire life. This bill is a big step forward for privacy rights, especially since California has more tech companies than any other state.”
While popular sites like Facebook and Twitter already allow any user to delete posts or tweets, the law will make it a requirement for all websites to extend the privilege to underage California users. Such a broad law will burden sites, who will now have to determine which users are based in California, opponents say. Many proponents concede the point but hope that the law will spread to the other states.
"This is a good business practice that should filter through the industry,” said Rhys Williams, spokesman for the bill’s author, Sen. Darrell Steinberg, Democrat. "These companies are keen to avoid bad press just as parents are keen to avoid bad attention toward their children.”
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A similar bill was proposed in the U.S. House of Representatives in 2011. Titled the Do Not Track Kids Act, it was introduced by Rep. Ed Markey, D-Mass., and Rep. Joe Barton, R-Texas. The bill never made it out of committee.
The law is part of a larger package of laws that will also prohibit youth-oriented social media sites from advertising products that are illegal for minors like alcohol, guns and tobacco. The new rules go into effect Jan. 1, 2015.