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US Senators Introduce Bill To Ban Social Networks From “Misleading” Users

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Two US senators have introduced a new bill to ban social networks like Facebook and Twitter from misleading users to submit their data.

Social networks are known to use dark patterns, structured to use behavioural psychology to trick people into submitting their data. These users’ data are used by advertisers to detail their marketing. It’s a general knowledge that social networks like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter make a large chunk of their profit by collating users’ data.

Restricting these companies from collecting data will cause a strain on their ability to sell ads, which is a significant source of their profit.

Fischer said in a statement that “misleading prompts to just click the ‘OK’ button can often transfer your contacts, messages, browsing activity, photos, or location information without you even realising it.” It pops up as a notification to click ‘OK’, and one click, they had obtained the access to your private information, when in reality, there was no such thing as ‘a new notification’.

Following Facebook’s support for regulation, as well as his tech colleagues’ Warner says it’s time to know if they genuinely support control or not. He said:

The platform companies are now going to have an opportunity to put their money where their mouth is, to see if they support this legislation and other approaches.

The bill will prohibit social media companies from choosing profiles for behavioural experiments without consent from the owners.  The social networks would have to create best practices spearheaded by a professional standard to address the issue.

The same bill also bans online platforms with over 100 million users from designing addictive games for users below 13. Over the years, there has been an unhealthy increase in the use of the internet by children which has resulted in compulsive disorders for some. Dr Ivan Goldberg refers to this problematic use of gaming activities on the internet as an impulse control disorder not associated with substance use. There have been recorded deaths indicating the dangers in digital game addiction. With the new bill, websites with more than 100 million users will now be compelled to deactivate the gaming sections.

The legislation might be included in a federal privacy bill that the members of the Senate are drafting before the law goes into effect. 

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