- People are using #WheresLindsey to criticize Graham over Trump ‘lynching’ defense Tuesday 8:22 PM
- 2 Proud Boys sentenced to 4 years in prison for attacking antifa protesters Tuesday 7:20 PM
- Paul Joseph Watson is very upset by bartender serving beer with her butt Tuesday 6:24 PM
- Twitter developing a policy to combat deepfakes Tuesday 5:28 PM
- The Nate Diaz vs. Jorge Masvidal bout at UFC 244 is perfect for NYC and its fight mecca Tuesday 5:27 PM
- Alexis Bledel named most dangerous online celebrity Tuesday 5:02 PM
- Kylie Jenner trademarks ‘rise and shine’ after meme success Tuesday 4:50 PM
- ‘Watchmen’ website expands what you know about its alt-history Tuesday 4:31 PM
- Smoke ’em, pass ’em Week 8: Mark Walton szn Tuesday 4:26 PM
- Venmo’s first-ever credit card to launch in 2020 Tuesday 3:46 PM
- Wet Kylo Ren may turn everyone to the dark side Tuesday 3:15 PM
- Man allegedly targeted trans women on dating app, robbed them at knifepoint Tuesday 3:02 PM
- Researchers expose how Amazon Echo and Google Home can steal passwords Tuesday 2:47 PM
- Facebook removing Instagram Story filters that mimic plastic surgery Tuesday 2:16 PM
- Mom solves ‘ghost baby’ image mystery after viral post Tuesday 1:23 PM
A new bill is seeking to ban tech companies from using “addictive” features designed to keep users glued to their services.
Sponsored by Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), the bill, known as the Social Media Addiction Reduction Technology Act, would implement a ban on autoplay videos, the infinite scroll, and award-based features like Snapchat streaks.
As noted by the Verge, Hawley’s legislation, also referred to as the SMART Act, targets social media companies that rely on “psychological tricks” to entice users.
“Big tech has embraced a business model of addiction,” Hawley said, according to the Verge. “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.”
The bill also calls for changing the way tech companies ask users to opt into their services. If a user is asked to use a checkbox to accept or decline terms of service, both options must be the same size, format, and font to ensure that users are aware of the decisions they’re making.
The SMART Act’s introduction comes amid growing pushback against tech companies for their practices towards users.
The creator of the infinite scroll, Aza Raskin, said that his own creation wastes about 200,000 human lifetimes per day and “robs us of our free-will” at a South by Southwest in March.
“Behind every screen and all of your favorite apps, there are literally a hundred to a thousand engineers who are paid to make this thing so that you have the feeling of checking your phone either when you wake up or while you pee,” Raskin said at the time. “We’re sprinkling behavioral cocaine all over these interfaces.”
A former Twitter employee who helped design the retweet function recently stated that he regretted the decision and likened it to handing “a four-year-old a loaded weapon.”
An ex-Google design ethicist, speaking at a Senate hearing last month, also argued that tech companies are exploiting human psychology to their keep hooked.
- Google gave people $5 to scan their faces
- Why teens are so worried about keeping Snapchat streaks
- Ex-Twitter employee who helped create the retweet says he regrets it
Got five minutes? We’d love to hear from you. Help shape our journalism and be entered to win an Amazon gift card by filling out our 2019 reader survey.
H/T the Verge
Mikael Thalen is a tech and security reporter based in Seattle, covering social media, data breaches, hackers, and more.