Regulating Your Virtual Experience

Even though we would really prefer to have a more stable framework around us, the truth is we cannot really grow in a reality of that sort. To actually get better, we must shake up our environment every once in a while. This forces us to rethink our ideas and make the necessary improvements. Now, if we have to assess the real world impact of such a dynamic, we can find it in spades across the board, but nothing represents it quite like our regulatory industry and its relationship with a certain creation called technology. You see, when technology arrived on the scene, it did more than just elevating our lives. It gave rule breakers a picture-perfect escape from the regulatory eye. In fact, the problem became so big over time that it got the regulators to reimagine their entire approach, bringing them closer to embracing technology. The transition wasn’t an easy one by any means, and yet we are now finally witnessing its benefits. As of late, governing forces have come out all guns blazing at the tech outlaws, but a recently-introduced bill shows that we might be in for an even bigger response.

Sens. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Cynthia Lummis (R-WY) have officially introduced a new bipartisan bill, the Social Media NUDGE Act, which focuses extensively on curbing algorithmic amplification of harmful content. As per some reports, the bill is designed to encourage organizations like National Science Foundation and National Academy of Sciences in terms of researching “content neutral” ways to make online content-sharing more frictional. Once these organizations have readied the recommendations, the Federal Trade Commission will then take up the role to codify the said counsel, thus constructing a defined mandate for social platforms. The concern around harmful and ill-informed content has grown dramatically over the last two years, most so after Frances Haugen’s testimony against Facebook.

“The NUDGE Act is a good step toward fully addressing Big Tech overreach. By empowering the [NSF] and [NASEM] to study the addictiveness of social media platforms, we’ll begin to fully understand the impact the designs of these platforms and their algorithms have on our society. From there, we can build guardrails to protect children in Wyoming from the negative effects of social media,” said Wyoming representative, Senator Cynthia Lummis

While the NUDGE Act bears a somewhat similar goal to a bill that was presented in the Congress last year, it boasts one key difference. Unlike the previous bill, the new act doesn’t look to amend Section 230, thus garnering massive support from tech companies and public interest groups.

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