Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley

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Sen. Josh Hawley proposes bill to place restrictions on ‘addictive features’ of social media

"Social media is designed to exploit human psychology and brain physiology."

August 05, 2019 - 2:49 pm

ST. LOUIS (KFTK) — Missouri Republican Sen. Josh Hawley introduced legislation last week that would place limits on "addictive features" of social media.

The Social Media Addiction Reduction Technology (SMART) Act proposes to ban aspects of social media such as infinite scrolling, autoplay and achievements for using a platform including "Snapstreaks" on Snapchat. The bill also would require social media platforms to include natural stopping points and an in-app tool to monitor and control how much time is spent using it.

In a news release, Sen. Hawley said, “Big tech has embraced a business model of addiction. 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. This legislation will put an end to that and encourage true innovation by tech companies.”

"Social media is designed to exploit human psychology and brain physiology," the release claims. Hawley cites that users spend 56% more time on social platforms than they did in 2012. "They design platforms with a bottom-line goal in mind: Capture as much of our attention as possible and immediately sell that attention to advertisers."

Click here to read the proposed legislation in its entirety.

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