As the House Energy and Commerce Committee gears up to review the Kids Online Safety Act (KOSA) this week, I am concerned with provisions in the bill that give more power to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) — not just as a parent, but as someone who believes in local enforcement over federal overreach. The original version of KOSA put enforcement in the hands of state attorneys general. However, recent changes made to KOSA to appease progressive groups could hand over significant new powers to FTC chair Lina Khan who has faced severe scrutiny for using the FTC to advance her own political agenda.

KOSA was initially introduced in 2022 but faced criticism from LGBTQ groups who remained opposed – keeping Democrats from supporting the bill. This year, in a concession to win over LGBTQ groups and secure more support for bill passage, new language was added to KOSA that changes who will enforce the new rules. Now, instead of putting enforcement in the hands of state attorneys general, progressives have ensured the FTC will instead be given sole enforcement power.

The issue here isn’t just about online safety—it’s about who controls the narrative our children are exposed to. Expanding the power of Washington bureaucrats is never a smart policy, but it’s especially concerning when it comes to controlling what content our children see online. Shifting this power to the FTC is highly troubling and could undermine the entire purpose of the legislation – especially under Lina Khan, a chair known for pursuing aggressive political agendas. 

Lina Khan’s controversial tenure as chair of the FTC sparked an investigation from the House Judiciary Committee earlier this year. The resulting report painted a troubling picture of her leadership. In fact, employees interviewed went so far as to say that Khan often opts for decisions that generate headlines rather than solid, evidence-based policy outcomes. Given this background, it’s worrying that she could have unchecked power to influence what is considered ‘harmful content’ for our children.

This isn’t just a minor policy tweak; it’s a significant policy shift. By centralizing this power, KOSA, as currently written, could undermine parental rights, replacing them with a top-down approach that may not reflect American families’ varied perspectives and values.

I commend Chair McMorris Rodgers and the entire committee for their work to address concerns regarding Big Tech’s influence on American culture and youth. This week’s House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Innovation, Data, and Commerce Subcommittee hearing can be a pivotal moment that reshapes how we safeguard our children online. However, supporting KOSA will only embolden Lina Khan to indoctrinate our youth in support of her progressive principles – not address genuine concerns around youth safety. 

I’m leading other Washington State parents in sending a letter to Chair McMorris Rodgers expressing our concerns with KOSA and urging her to consider the consequences of expanding the FTC’s power and progressive groups’ outsized influence when weighing her own support for the bill. I hope Rep. McMorris Rodgers and others use this week’s hearing to raise these valid concerns about whether we want the FTC, and specifically Lina Khan, to make the final decision about what content is ‘appropriate’ for our children to see online.

Nansen Malin is a parent, grandparent and school board member who was an early social media adopter with a large following. She advises business, families and influencers on the use of social media, and issues around safety for minors. @nansen on X (twitter).