Del. Nadarius Clark, D-Portsmouth, believes the last few years have highlighted the dangers of social media.
Misinformation has thrived on many platforms, he said, and online bullying or threats remain a constant concern.
“We need to get ahead of it and get a better understanding and make sure that we are protecting all of our citizens when it comes to these issues,” he said.
Clark is co-sponsoring a bill that would create a 20-member commission tasked with studying the impacts of social media on Virginians.
The group would examine the role social media plays in spreading misinformation and amplifying violent or threatening content. It would also research how some social media companies use algorithms and targeted advertising.
The bill would require the commission to report annually to the General Assembly and to provide recommendations based on its findings. The commission’s work would conclude on July 1, 2026.
Clark hopes the measure will receive support from both sides of the aisle.
“I think this is something that should definitely be bipartisan because social media affects everyone,” he said. “Everyone in my generation uses some form of it, so I hope it will get support from both sides.”
The legislation will be introduced on the first day of the upcoming legislative session, which starts Jan. 11.
Del. Wendy Gooditis, a Loudoun County Democrat, is the bill’s chief patron.
Clark, a younger member of the legislature who sits on the Communications, Technology and Innovation Committee, said he believes his age is an asset when it comes to examining social media matters.
“Many people in the legislature did not grow up in the age of social media; I kind of grew up in it and it was just a way of life,” he said.
Clark, 27, added that many of his friends and younger constituents have shared concerns or questions about social media with him.
“When we look at our nation and here in Virginia, there is so much of the unknown around social media,” he said. “We are going to fight for (this bill) and push for this because it is something that we need.”
Katie King, firstname.lastname@example.org