The authors of the dangerous Kids Online Safety Act (KOSA) unveiled an amended version this week, but it’s still an unconstitutional censorship bill that continues to empower state officials to target services and online content they do not like. We are asking everyone reading this to oppose this latest version, and to demand that their representatives oppose it—even if you have already done so. 



KOSA remains a dangerous bill that would allow the government to decide what types of information can be shared and read online by everyone. It would still require an enormous number of websites, apps, and online platforms to filter and block legal, and important, speech. It would almost certainly still result in age verification requirements. Some of its provisions have changed over time, and its latest changes are detailed below. But those improvements do not cure KOSA’s core First Amendment problems. Moreover, a close review shows that state attorneys general still have a great deal of power to target online services and speech they do not like, which we think will harm children seeking access to basic health information and a variety of other content that officials deem harmful to minors.  

We’ll dive into the details of KOSA’s latest changes, but first we want to remind everyone of the stakes. KOSA is still a censorship bill and it will still harm a large number of minors who have First Amendment rights to access lawful speech online. It will endanger young people and impede the rights of everyone who uses the platforms, services, and websites affected by the bill. Based on our previous analyses, statements by its authors and various interest groups, as well as the overall politicization of youth education and online activity, we believe the following groups—to name just a few—will be endangered:  

  • LGBTQ+ Youth will be at risk of having content, educational material, and their own online identities erased.  
  • Young people searching for sexual health and reproductive rights information will find their search results stymied. 
  • Teens and children in historically oppressed and marginalized groups will be unable to locate information about their history and shared experiences. 
  • Activist youth on either side of the aisle, such as those fighting for changes to climate laws, gun laws, or religious rights, will be siloed, and unable to advocate and connect on platforms.  
  • Young people seeking mental health help and information will be blocked from finding it, because even discussions of suicide, depression, anxiety, and eating disorders will be hidden from them. 
  • Teens hoping to combat the problem of addiction—either their own, or that of their friends, families, and neighbors, will not have the resources they need to do so.  
  • Any young person seeking truthful news or information that could be considered depressing will find it harder to educate themselves and engage in current events and honest discussion. 
  • Adults in any of these groups who are unwilling to share their identities will find themselves shunted onto a second-class internet alongside the young people who have been denied access to this information. 

What’s Changed in the Latest (2024) Version of KOSA 

In its impact, the latest version of KOSA is not meaningfully different from those previous versions. The “duty of care” censorship section remains in the bill, though modified as we will explain below. The latest version removes the authority of state attorneys general to sue or prosecute people for not complying with the “duty of care.” But KOSA still permits these state officials to enforce other part of the bill based on their political whims and we expect those officials to use this new law to the same censorious ends as they would have of previous versions. And the legal requirements of KOSA are still only possible for sites to safely follow if they restrict access to content based on age, effectively mandating age verification.   

KOSA is still a censorship bill and it will still harm a large number of minors

Duty of Care is Still a Duty of Censorship 

Previously, KOSA outlined a wide collection of harms to minors that platforms had a duty to prevent and mitigate through “the design and operation” of their product. This includes self-harm, suicide, eating disorders, substance abuse, and bullying, among others. This seemingly anodyne requirement—that apps and websites must take measures to prevent some truly awful things from happening—would have led to overbroad censorship on otherwise legal, important topics for everyone as we’ve explained before.  

The updated duty of care says that a platform shall “exercise reasonable care in the creation and implementation of any design feature” to prevent and mitigate those harms. The difference is subtle, and ultimately, unimportant. There is no case law defining what is “reasonable care” in this context. This language still means increased liability merely for hosting and distributing otherwise legal content that the government—in this case the FTC—claims is harmful.  

Design Feature Liability 

The bigger textual change is that the bill now includes a definition of a “design feature,” which the bill requires platforms to limit for minors. The “design feature” of products that could lead to liability is defined as: 

any feature or component of a covered platform that will encourage or increase the frequency, time spent, or activity of minors on the covered platform, or activity of minors on the covered platform. 

Design features include but are not limited to 

(A) infinite scrolling or auto play; 

(B) rewards for time spent on the platform; 

(C) notifications; 

(D) personalized recommendation systems; 

(E) in-game purchases; or 

(F) appearance altering filters. 

These design features are a mix of basic elements and those that may be used to keep visitors on a site or platform. There are several problems with this provision. First, it’s not clear when offering basic features that many users rely on, such as notifications, by itself creates a harm. But that points to the fundamental problem of this provision. KOSA is essentially trying to use features of a service as a proxy to create liability for speech online that the bill’s authors do not like. But the list of harmful designs shows that the legislators backing KOSA want to regulate online content, not just design.   

For example, if an online service presented an endless scroll of math problems for children to complete, or rewarded children with virtual stickers and other prizes for reading digital children’s books, would lawmakers consider those design features harmful? Of course not. Infinite scroll and autoplay are generally not a concern for legislators. It’s that these lawmakers do not like some lawful content that is accessible via online service’s features. 

What KOSA tries to do here then is to launder restrictions on content that lawmakers do not like through liability for supposedly harmful “design features.” But the First Amendment still prohibits Congress from indirectly trying to censor lawful speech it disfavors.  

We shouldn’t kid ourselves that the latest version of KOSA will stop state officials from targeting vulnerable communities.

Allowing the government to ban content designs is a dangerous idea. If the FTC decided that direct messages, or encrypted messages, were leading to harm for minors—under this language they could bring an enforcement action against a platform that allowed users to send such messages. 

Regardless of whether we like infinite scroll or auto-play on platforms, these design features are protected by the First Amendment; just like the design features we do like. If the government tried to limit an online newspaper from using an infinite scroll feature or auto-playing videos, that case would be struck down. KOSA’s latest variant is no different.   

Attorneys General Can Still Use KOSA to Enact Political Agendas 

As we mentioned above, the enforcement available to attorneys general has been narrowed to no longer include the duty of care. But due to the rule of construction and the fact that attorneys general can still enforce other portions of KOSA, this is cold comfort. 

For example, it is true enough that the amendments to KOSA prohibit a state from targeting an online service based on claims that in hosting LGBTQ content that it violated KOSA’s duty of care. Yet that same official could use another provision of KOSA—which allows them to file suits based on failures in a platform’s design—to target the same content. The state attorney general could simply claim that they are not targeting the LGBTQ content, but rather the fact that the content was made available to minors via notifications, recommendations, or other features of a service. 

We shouldn’t kid ourselves that the latest version of KOSA will stop state officials from targeting vulnerable communities. And KOSA leaves all of the bill’s censorial powers with the FTC, a five-person commission nominated by the president. This still allows a small group of federal officials appointed by the President to decide what content is dangerous for young people. Placing this enforcement power with the FTC is still a First Amendment problem: no government official, state or federal, has the power to dictate by law what people can read online.  

The Long Fight Against KOSA Continues in 2024 

For two years now, EFF has laid out the clear arguments against this bill. KOSA creates liability if an online service fails to perfectly police a variety of content that the bill deems harmful to minors. Services have little room to make any mistakes if some content is later deemed harmful to minors and, as a result, are likely to restrict access to a broad spectrum of lawful speech, including information about health issues like eating disorders, drug addiction, and anxiety.  

The fight against KOSA has amassed an enormous coalition of people of all ages and all walks of life who know that censorship is not the right approach to protecting people online, and that the promise of the internet is one that must apply equally to everyone, regardless of age. Some of the people who have advocated against KOSA from day one have now graduated high school or college. But every time this bill returns, more people learn why we must stop it from becoming law.   



We cannot afford to allow the government to decide what information is available online. Please contact your representatives today to tell them to stop the Kids Online Safety Act from moving forward.