New US bill aims to cut algorithmic amplification of harmful content

In a bid to address algorithmic amplification of harmful content on social media platforms and curb screen addiction, a new bipartisan bill has been introduced in the US Congress.

Called the Social Media NUDGE Act, authored by Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Cynthia Lummis (R-WY), the bill would direct the National Science Foundation and the National Academy of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine to study “content neutrala ways to add friction to content-sharing online.

The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) would then codify the recommendations and mandate that social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter put them into practice, reports The Verge.

“For too long, tech companies have said ‘trust us, we’ve got this’. But we know that social media platforms have repeatedly put profits over people, with algorithms pushing dangerous content that hooks users and spreads misinformation,” Klobuchar said in a statement on Thursday.

Triggered by a testimony by Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen in 2020, both Democrats and Republicans have started working together to find ways to regulate algorithms that address both children’s issues and misinformation.

“The NUDGE Act is a good step toward fully addressing Big Tech overreach,” Lummis said in a statement.

“We can build guardrails to protect childrena from the negative effects of social media.”

The bill comes at a time when the US Senate is working on curtailing Section 230 immunity for social media platforms.

Removing Section 230 liability protection has been the biggest hurdle for lawmakers seeking to address harmful algorithmic amplification.

“It’s past time to pass meaningful reforms that address social media’s harms to our communities head-on,” said Klobuchar.

Last year, Reps. Anna Eshoo (D-CA) and Tom Malinowski (D-NJ) first introduced aProtecting Americans from Dangerous Algorithms Act, which also focused on algorithmic amplification.




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