U.S. Republican Senator Josh Hawley presented on Tuesday Draft Law on the Reduction of Addictions to Social Networks (SMART) seeks to ban the "toxic and deceptive techniques" of companies.
The initiative notes features such as "autoplay", which refers to the automatic playback of videos, the "endless scroll", which is a cascade of endless publications, and the controversial strains of Snapchat, a feature known as Snapstreak, which shows the number of days a network user has continuously uploaded photos to another. If a stroke is not present for 24 hours, it disappears from the user application.
Much innovation is designed to capture more attention through psychological tricks that are difficult to look at otherwise. This legislation will put an end to that.
Hawley listed these features as a "business model of addiction" and points out that the bill proposes removing the actions and strategies of social networks that "celebrate" and encourages users to spend a lot of time in them.Social media platforms should include "natural terms," the senator said in a statement.
"Technology has adopted a business model of addiction. Much of the innovation is intended to capture more attention through psychological tricks that are difficult to look at otherwise. This legislation will put an end to this and encourage true innovation by technology companies." .
The use of "endless scrolling" and "autoplay" is currently widely used on networks such as Facebook, Instagram and YouTube. So if the SMART bill is approved, they will have to change not only its interface, but its business model.
For its part, critics of the Snapstreak feature argue that it is pushing users, often teenagers, to become addicted to the app.
According to the Royal Society for Public Health in the UK, Snapchat was one of the "most damaging" social networks for young people's mental health in a 2017 study.
Writing by TECNÓSFERA
* With Reuters