H.4700 - South Carolina Social Media Regulation Act

H.4700 - South Carolina Social Media Regulation Act

Published Jan 10, 2024

Quick Summary

H. 4700

The proposed South Carolina bill introduces comprehensive regulations for social media use by minors. Starting March 1, 2025, it mandates age verification and parental consent for minors to hold social media accounts, defined as platforms with at least five million account holders worldwide. Social media companies are required to restrict minors' access during specific nighttime hours, prohibit direct messaging with non-friends, and disallow advertising targeted at minor accounts. Parents, upon giving consent, must be granted access to monitor their child's social media activity. The bill assigns enforcement to the Consumer Services Division, including receiving consumer complaints and imposing fines for non-compliance. Additionally, it allows for private legal action against entities that don't comply with these requirements and declares waivers of these protections void. This act, encompassing definitions, regulations, and enforcement mechanisms, seeks to protect minors from potential online harm.

Our Review

The proposed bill, hands down, is one of the most alarming pieces of legislation for any staunch South Carolinian conservative. It reads like a page torn straight out of Orwell's "1984" - a dystopian script where Big Brother intrudes into the private lives of citizens, only this time it's not fiction, it's a bill in our own backyard! Yes, protecting children in the digital age is critical; nobody disputes that. But at what cost? Are we willing to trade precious freedoms for a false sense of security, echoing the chilling world of Orwell's surveillance state?

Parental responsibility, a cornerstone of conservative values, is being hijacked by this bill. It effectively says, "Don't worry, parents, the government will handle your kids’ online activity." That's not just overreach; it’s an overstep into family autonomy. Think about it: a bill that allows the state to dictate when and how a child can use social media? This is not just about safeguarding kids; it's a slippery slope towards greater control. Remember, this is just phase one. Once the door to amendments is open, who knows how much further this intrusion could go? Imagine a world where every click, every scroll, every like by our children is under the watchful eye of the state – chilling, isn't it?

In conclusion, while the intent to protect our children is noble, the method here is deeply flawed. It’s a classic case of government overreach, trampling over individual liberties and parental rights. And let's not forget, this is only phase one. If this bill passes, brace yourselves for amendments that could make the current version look like child's play. Fellow South Carolinians, let's stand firm for our freedoms and responsibilities. Don't let our state become a real-life version of "1984".

This bill will be up for discussion at the Constitutional Laws Subcommittee meeting, scheduled for Thursday, January 11, 2024, at 9:00 am. It's crucial that your voice is heard. Please take this opportunity to reach out to the committee members and share your thoughts and concerns regarding this bill. Additionally, for your convenience, here is a link to the meeting agenda. If you prefer, written testimony can be directly emailed to HJudConstitutionalLaws@schouse.gov. 

Don't miss out on this opportunity to make your opinion count!

Update 3/12/24

Labor & Employment Subcommittee of the Senate Labor, Commerce and Industry Committee on March 20th at 9:00 a.m. in room #308 of the Gressette Building. H4700 will is on the agenda for consideration.

Oh, and check out the the Financial Impact Statement, YIKES!

DE Curriculum Development and Implementation:

Annual increase of $750,000 starting FY 2024-25:
$250,000 for staffing
$500,000 for operating costs.

Local School Districts:
Variable costs, potentially ranging from $15,000 to $120,500 for adopting new programs.

Existing SCDE Expenditure on Comparable Curriculum:
$3,500,000 Annually for a vendor-provided curriculum.

Are we looking at a grand total of $4,250,000 annually?

Note: S.C. Department of Education. This bill will increase expenses for SCDE by $3,500,000 per year beginning in FY 2024-25 to develop, update, and publish on its website information related to model programs for educating students regarding online safety. The department reports that it is currently contracted with a vendor providing a comparable curriculum at an annual expense of approximately $3,500,000.

BAD: H4700: requires the S.C. Department of Education (SCDE) to develop model programs for educating students about online safety. Local districts may incorporate these programs into their curriculum. (WHY?)

Update 1/22/24

H4700, the South Carolina Social Media Regulation Act, has been amended and, frankly, it's gone from bad to downright dreadful. Jonathon Hill has put together a comparison sheet to highlight just how much worse it's gotten. Jonathon states, "The Judiciary Subcommittee slipped in a pilot 'media literacy' program in schools - bad idea."

We're left scratching our heads here: why on earth are our conservative legislators backing such a bill?

H4700 is up for discussion on Tuesday, January 23, 2024, at 2:30 pm, or 30 minutes after the House adjourns (whichever is later) in Blatt Room 516 - that's the House Judiciary Committee's turf. It's crucial you contact these committee members and tell them why this bill is a bad move.

Here is the agenda link.

Update 1/15/24

Bill 4700: The South Carolina Social Media Regulation Act is scheduled for discussion on Thursday, January 18, 2024, at 9:00 am in Room 516.

Why would any conservative support this bill?

Subscribe to ConservaTruth's Email Newsletter for curated insights on South Carolina's legislative activities and conservative viewpoints, delivered straight to your inbox! With vetted and easy-to-understand information, our newsletter empowers you to become an informed and engaged citizen, actively participating in safeguarding our cherished Constitutional values. Don’t miss out on crucial updates—join our community of informed conservatives today!