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Congress May Ban “Addictive” Website Features Like Autoplay Videos

July 30th 19__Dan Robitzski__Filed Under: Future Society
Tag Hartman-Simkins

Addictive Design

A new bill before the Senate aims to ban social media and tech platforms from implementing “addictive” designs and features — including autoplaying videos or endless scrolling.

The Social Media Addiction Reduction Technology Act, introduced by Republican Senator Josh Hawley, would ban the types of features and tricks that these platforms use to keep people engaged for longer periods of time, The Verge reports. It could also outlaw some of the deceptive ways tech companies keep people from opting out of their services — perhaps finally giving users better control over internet and social media.

Fair Fight

The bill, intended to turn social media use into less of a time-suck, would serve as protection from some features so manipulative that Silicon Valley parents don’t want their kids using the services they create.

“Big tech has embraced a business model of addiction,” Hawley said, per 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.”

If the bill passes, it would require that companies make their websites and services more straightforward to navigate — they couldn’t hide or disguise “opt out” buttons, for instance, and would no longer be able to make their feeds scroll on and on forever.

READ MORE: New bill would ban autoplay videos and endless scrolling [The Verge]

More on addictive design: Tech Used to Be for the Rich. Now They’re Paying to Avoid It.