Our support for the Kids Online Safety Act

How KOSA would keep children and teens safe online and provide essential protections for LGBTQ+ youth.

For the past 18 months, one of Fairplay’s biggest priorities has been promoting the passage of the Kids Online Safety Act (KOSA) into law. We’ve seen firsthand the devastating losses incurred by Big Tech putting profits ahead of the wellbeing of its youngest and most vulnerable users. This legislation would create essential new online protections for millions of children and teens.

We’re confident that KOSA will make the internet a significantly safer, happier, and healthier place for kids and teens. However, some LGBTQ+ advocates have raised concerns that the bill’s duty of care could be weaponized against the queer community by conservative attorneys general with a bigoted agenda.

In response to those concerns, Fairplay and our partners worked closely with KOSA’s sponsors to tighten language in the bill and make it even more difficult for rogue Attorneys General to target the LGBTQ+ community. As a result, many groups that opposed KOSA dropped their opposition. But, some vocal critics of the bill remain.

So, our team has been reflecting. Fairplay is committed to supporting, uplifting, and protecting every child — including and especially LGBTQ+ children. The queer community is represented among our staff, our partners, and our thousands of supporters. We would never support a bill if we believed there was a chance it would harm LGBTQ+ children.

That’s why we went a step further to deeply analyze the bill yet again in order to ensure we aren’t supporting a measure that contradicts our own values. We’ve met and spoken with legal experts, leading queer advocates, and tech platform experts to understand the scenarios in which KOSA might be weaponized, and what would likely happen in such a situation. Throughout these conversations, we asked difficult questions and thought long and hard about why we support KOSA. 

These meetings with experts served to reaffirm our belief in the Kids Online Safety Act. They agreed that any attempt by conservative AGs to censor LGBTQ+ content would not succeed, and that KOSA would provide essential protections for LGBTQ+ youth.

Queer youth are facing an onslaught of homophobia and transphobia across the internet and Big Tech isn’t particularly interested in curbing such harms. Queer youth are disproportionately cyberbullied for their identities, and they are more likely to be exposed to drug sales and pro-eating disorder content online. The Kids Online Safety Act would provide protection for LGBTQ+ youth and their cisgender, heterosexual peers from these everyday, devastating harms. In short, the Kids Online Safety Act is infinitely preferable to the status quo in which Big Tech consistently puts profits ahead of kids’ lives.

We have compiled resources and information on why we remain committed to KOSA, which are highlighted below. Please also check out our statement on KOSA and its potential impact on LGBTQ+ youth.

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Attorney Laura Marquez-Garrett’s op-ed on why they support the revised Kids Online Safety Act and why queer youth need this bill

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Friend of Fairplay Joni Siani’s podcast series with survivor parents Joann Bogard and Kristin Bride on the need for KOSA, and a conversation with Laura Marquez-Garrett on their support for the bill

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Queer mental health advocate Maddie Geschu on how Big Tech exploits the LGBTQ+ community to avoid regulation

We are deeply grateful to the tireless advocates who have fought to ensure that this bill does not pose a threat to the LGBTQ+ community. The principled critics of this bill forced us to look deeper, slow down, and conclude with certainty that KOSA is aligned with Fairplay values. 

Fairplay is committed to being transparent in our decision-making and to upholding our promise to protect every child. If you have questions about how we arrived at our decision, or questions about the Kids Online Safety Act, please reach out to us. We will respond to your questions about this bill, our values, and any other concerns you might have.