After the National Assembly, the Senate adopted Tuesday, May 23 in first reading, with modifications, the obligation for social networks such as TikTok or Snapchat to verify the age of their users and the agreement of parents for the registration of children under 15 years. The government having initiated the accelerated procedure on this text, deputies and senators will now try to agree on a common version.
The bill, carried by the boss of the deputies Horizons Laurent Marcangeli, establishes the obligation for social networks "to set up a technical solution to verify the age of end users and the consent of holders of parental authority" for children under 15, "solution" that will have to be certified by the authorities.
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High fine for failure to do so
This age corresponds to entry into high school and the age at which a minor can consent alone to the processing of his personal data, recalls the rapporteur Alexandra Borchio Fontimp (LR). In case of breach, a fine may be imposed on the company, up to 1% of its worldwide turnover. At the initiative of the rapporteur, the senators specified that the authorization of only one holder of parental authority will be necessary.
The text also allows holders of parental authority to request the suspension of the account of a child under 15 years of age. The senators also deleted the provision relating to "labelled" networks to which children under 13 could have had access with the agreement of parents, introduced in the Assembly despite the government's unfavourable opinion.
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In the hemicycle, the Senate voted a socialist amendment requiring networks to activate a device to control the time of use when registering a minor. The Senate also explicitly excluded from the scope of the bill "non-profit online encyclopedias," such as Wikipedia, and "educational and scientific directories."
For Alexandra Borchio Fontimp, this text "is an essential safeguard against the growing precocity of digital puberty and the power of the tools available to young people". It "is part of a general and international awareness of the danger that social networks can represent, especially for the youngest," said centrist Annick Billon.
Several senators nevertheless questioned the effective implementation of its provisions. The first registration to a social network would occur on average around 8 and a half years and more than a quarter of 7-10 year olds regularly go to social networks, according to the National Commission for Informatics and Liberties (CNIL). The Senate has set up a commission of inquiry, at the request of the group The Independents, on the social network TikTok, whose conclusions should be made public by the end of the parliamentary session.