A new bill has been sponsored by Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) which seeks to hold the tech industry’s “addictive” design to account. It seeks to ban endless scrolling and YouTube autoplay. The bill, titled Social Media Addiction Reduction Technology Act or SMART, seeks to ban features that make people spend more time on the platform by design.
It would include Snapstreaks as well as it’s a feature which incentivizes the continued use of the service. If this bill is approved, similar rules could be created by the Federal Trade Commission and Health and Human Services which would expire after three years unless codified into law by Congress.
If the legislation is passed, it would result in a ban on features like endless scrolling for news feeds and autoplaying videos. It would also mandate that social media platforms integrated natural stopping points and also offer in-app tools which allow users to track how much time they have spent on the platform.
“Big tech has embraced a business model of addiction,” Hawley said, adding that “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.”