A US SENATOR has introduced a bill that would ban 'addictive' features of social media platforms.
The Social Media Addiction Reduction Technology (SMART) Act, from Republican Senator Josh Hawley, would prohibit Twitter and Facebook-style infinite scrolling, ban auto-playing of video and audio and set time limits on individual account usage. Social media websites would be obliged to track how long each user spends engaging on the platform and required to cut-off access should that limit be reached.
"The bill—'the Social Media Addiction Reduction Technology (SMART) Act'—aims to combat the features on social media websites and apps that intentionally try to keep users on the sites in order to sell more advertisements." https://t.co/YN9DwDe7Ze— Senator Hawley Press Office (@SenHawleyPress) 30 July 2019
They would also be obliged to display a pop-up warning to users every 30 minutes showing how long they have been logged-into the platform, and companies would no longer be allowed to "manipulate people into consenting by making it difficult to decline consent".
The bill is based on the belief that social media platforms exploit human psychology in their design to create platforms that are not just popular, but addictive.
"'Big tech' has embraced a business model of addiction. Too much of the ‘innovation' in this space is designed not to create better products, but to capture more attention by using psychological tricks that make it difficult to look away," said Hawley, introducing the Act.
The introduction of the SMART Act, which is unlikely to be passed, follows on from Facebook's latest run-in with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) last week.
I just read all of Sen. Hawley's "SMART" act and it is pretty much the opposite of smart. Probably the most bonkers part is this: Hawley wants social media platforms to limit usage to 30 minutes a day by default pic.twitter.com/3zFjivPg4y— Alec Sears (@SearsAl) 30 July 2019
The FTC fined Facebook a record $5bn for egregiously violating the terms of a 2012 settlement for violating user privacy. Facebook will also be required to make organisational changes to ensure user privacy is better respected in future and has consented to have its operations overseen by the FTC for the next 20 years. µ
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