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Summary: US lawmakers introduce bill to tackle social media addiction and amplification of harmful content

The bill will require social media platforms to release month-wise and half-yearly breakdowns of their content moderation stats.

US lawmakers on February 10 introduced a new bill that aims to tackle addiction and the amplification of harmful content on social media platforms with content-agnostic interventions. The bipartisan bill, titled Nudging Users to Drive Good Experiences on Social Media (Social Media NUDGE) Act requires the National Science Foundation and the National Academy of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine to find potential content-agnostic interventions and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to formulate regulations based on these findings. Content-agnostic interventions are actions taken by a platform to alter user experience that does not rely on the substance of the user-generated content and does not alter the core functionality of the platform, the bill states. The bill comes after Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen in late 2021 revealed the mental health impacts of Instagram on teenagers and the lack of efforts by Meta in tackling hate speech and harmful content on its various platforms. Senator Amy Klobuchar, who co-authored the bill with Senator Cynthia Lummis, said: "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. This bill will help address these practices, including by implementing changes that increase transparency and improve user experience. It’s past time to pass meaningful reforms that address social media’s harms to our communities head-on." Notably, unlike other proposed legislation, this bill does not require any amendments to Section 230 of the US Communications Decency Act, which provides…

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