Press releases

Diverse council of leaders calls on Congress to protect kids’ online safety

Members of the Council for Responsible Social Media urge lawmakers to prioritize and pass the Kids Online Safety Act in the remaining weeks of the legislative session

Media Contact

Cory Combs

Director of Media Relations

Today, members of the Council for Responsible Social Media endorsed the bipartisan Kids Online Safety Act (KOSA) and called on members of Congress to pass this important legislation during the lame duck period to protect kids online. The Council brings together a diverse group of national leaders to hold social media platforms to higher standards and advocate for fundamental changes to the ways social media platforms are designed and operated.

“This bill would be a significant step forward to protect our kids from harms online,” said Frances Haugen, a Facebook whistleblower and leading reform advocate. “KOSA gives kids and parents tools to protect their information, disable addictive product features, and opt out of algorithmic recommendations — and it enables the strongest settings by default. Most importantly, it puts in place a duty of care for the Big Tech companies to proactively ensure that their platforms are designed with the safety and wellbeing of children in mind.”

The Kids Online Safety Act was introduced by Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), garnering strong bipartisan support. In July 2022, it was favorably reported out of the Senate Commerce Committee by a unanimous vote, 28-0. If passed, KOSA would mark the first comprehensive legislation enacted to protect kids online since 1996.

“By allowing Big Tech to act without any oversight, Congress has essentially given these companies the green light to put profit over children’s safety and well-being. As a mother, I know all too well how this inaction has had devastating consequences on children and families,” said Kristin Bride, a social media reform advocate. “My son Carson took his own life at the age of 16 after being subjected to harassment and humiliating messages from anonymous tormentors on social media. Carson’s bullying was allowed to happen because of design choices made by the Big Tech platforms, which have repeatedly put profits before child wellbeing. Now, Congress has a chance to prove to mothers like me that it values the lives of children by passing the Kids Online Safety Act.”

The Council for Responsible Social Media — which launched in October 2022 and is a project of Issue One — brings together policymakers, impacted communities, and key stakeholders to advance meaningful reforms to social media platforms. The Kids Online Safety Act is the first piece of legislation endorsed by the members of this group.

“It’s not every day that you see Richard Blumentahal and Marsha Blackburn united on the same bill,” said Council Co-Chair Kerry Healey, former Lt. Gov of Massachusetts (R) and current president of the Milken Institute’s Center for Advancing the American Dream. “But they came together because they recognized that protecting kids from being targeted with inappropriate content and addictive features isn’t a partisan issue. Now, before the current Congress adjourns, it’s time that our leaders work together to get this done and show us that they value and prioritize the health and safety of American children.”

The Members of the Council for Responsible Social Media endorsing KOSA are:

  • Dick Gephardt, Co-Chair — Fmr. Congressman (D-MO) and Majority Leader
  • Kerry Healey, Co-Chair — Former Lieutenant Governor (R) of Massachusetts
  • Danielle Allen — Professor at Harvard University and Director of the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics
  • Sophie Beren — Founder and CEO of the Conversationalist
  • Joel Bervell — TikTok disinformation specialist, member of White House Healthcare Leaders in Social Media Roundtable, 2021 TikTok “Voice for Change
  • Kristin Bride — Social Media Reform Advocate
  • Susan Coppedge — Fmr. U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for the Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons
  • Jiore Craig — Head of Digital Integrity at the Institute for Strategic Dialogue
  • Renee DiResta — Technical Research Manager at Stanford Internet Observatory
  • Linda Douglass — Fmr. Head of Communications for Bloomberg, Senior Vice President at Atlantic Media, and Communications Director in the White House’s Office of Health Reform
  • Craig Forman — Fmr. CEO and President of McClatchy
  • Mary Anne Franks — Professor at the University of Miami School of Law; President and Legislative and Technology Policy Director of the Cyber Civil Rights Initiative
  • Nancy Gibbs — Fmr. Editor of TIME and Director of the Harvard Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy
  • Dan Glickman — Fmr. Secretary of Agriculture and Congressman (D-KS)
  • Josh Golin — Executive Director of Fairplay
  • Porter Goss — Fmr. Director of the CIA and Congressman (R-FL)
  • Chuck Hagel — Fmr. Secretary of Defense & U.S. Senator (R-NE)
  • Jonathan Haidt — Professor of Ethical Leadership at New York University Stern School of Business, social psychologist, and best-selling author
  • Tristan Harris — President and Co-Founder of the Center for Humane Technology
  • Frances Haugen — Facebook whistleblower and tech expert
  • Steve Israel — Fmr. Congressman (D-NY), Director of the Institute of Politics and Global Affairs at Cornell University
  • Herb Lin — Senior research scholar for cyber policy and security at Stanford University
  • Nathaniel Lubin — Fmr. Director of the Office of Digital Strategy at the White House
  • Claire McCaskill — Fmr. U.S. Senator (D-MO)
  • Sean McGarvey — President of North America’s Building Trades Unions
  • Manu Meel — CEO of BridgeUSA
  • Bill Owens — Fmr. Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and U.S. Navy Admiral
  • Farah Pandith — Fmr. Member of the Homeland Security Advisory Council, State Department Representative to Muslim Communities, and Director for Middle East regional initiatives for the National Security Council
  • Leon Panetta — Fmr. Secretary of Defense, Director of the CIA, White House Chief of Staff, and Congressman (D-CA)
  • Maria Ressa — Recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize and CEO of Rappler
  • Reid Ribble — Fmr. Congressman (R-WI)
  • Denver Riggelman — Fmr. Congressman (R-VA)
  • Vivian Schiller — Executive Director of Aspen Digital, fmr. President and CEO of NPR, Global Chair of News at Twitter, and General Manager of
  • Craig Spencer — Director of Global Health in Emergency Medicine at New York-Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center
  • Tommy Thompson — Fmr. Governor of Wisconsin (R), Secretary of Health and HumanServices, and Interim President of the University of Wisconsin System
  • Nicole Tisdale — Fmr. Director of Domestic Policy for the National Security Council, White House
  • Danny Weiss — Chief Advocacy Officer at Common Sense Media
  • Tom Wheeler — Fmr. Chair of the Federal Communications Commission
  • Isabelle Wright — Executive Director of Vote For Freedom and Fmr. Global Election Integrity Policy Lead at TikTok

Learn more about the Council for Responsible Social Media.