A new Senate bill calls for a crackdown on "addictive and deceptive techniques" used by tech companies and social media sites to keep our attention. Sen. Josh Hawley introduced the Social Media Addiction Reduction Technology Act, or SMART Act, on Tuesday.
The legislation, if passed, would ban features like infinite scroll for news feeds and autoplay for videos. It would also require social media platforms to include natural stopping points and provide in-app tools that let people track how much time they've spent on a site.
Social media sites and technology companies have come under increased scrutiny for their handling of issues like fake news and data privacy. Earlier this month, the Department of Justice kicked off an antitrust review of how online platforms achieved market power, and whether they're stifling innovation and harming consumers. Last week, Facebook agreed to pay $5 billion to the Federal Trade Commission to settle an investigation into the social network's privacy mishaps.
Hawley, a Republican from Missouri, said it's time to start expecting more from Silicon Valley.
"Big tech has embraced a business model of addiction," Hawley said in a release. "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."
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Originally published July 30.
Update, July 31: Adds more background.