May 25, 2024
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Sen. Josh Hawley’s new Social Media Addiction Reduction Technology Act, or the SMART Act will reportedly ban Snapstreaks, YouTube autoplay and features that work to keep users on platforms longer, along with others, like Snapstreaks, that incentivize the continued use of these products.

If approved, the Federal Trade Commission and Health and Human Services could create similar rules that would expire after three years unless Congress codified them into law.

In a statement Hawley said “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.”

Also Hawley’s bill would make it unlawful for tech companies to use dark patterns to manipulate users into opting into services. For example, accept and decline check boxes would need to be the same font, format, and size to help users make better, more informed choices.

Josh Golin, executive director of campaign for a Commercial Free Childhood, said “Social media companies deploy a host of tactics designed to manipulate users in ways that undermines their wellbeing.”

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