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The Wall Street Journal: California lawmakers kill bill that would have allowed tech companies to be sued over social-media addiction

California lawmakers killed a bill Thursday that would have allowed government lawyers to sue social-media companies for features that allegedly harm children by causing them to become addicted.

The measure would have given the state attorney general, local district attorneys and city attorneys in the biggest California cities authority to try to hold social-media companies liable in court for features they knew or should have known could addict minors. Among those targeted could have been Facebook and Instagram parent Meta Platforms Inc.
 Snapchat parent Snap Inc.
and TikTok, owned by Chinese company ByteDance Ltd.

The bill died in the appropriations committee of the state senate through a process known as the suspense file, in which lawmakers can halt the progress of dozens or even hundreds of potentially controversial bills without a public vote, based on their possible fiscal impact.

Its death comes after social-media companies worked aggressively to stop the bill, arguing that it would lead to hundreds of millions of dollars in liability and potentially prompt them to abandon the youth market nationwide.

Meta, Twitter Inc.

and Snap had all individually lobbied against the measure, according to state lobbying disclosures.

An expanded version of this report appears on

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