GOP Sen. Josh Hawley: Big Tech Embraces Addiction As A Business Model

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Posted: Jul 30, 2019 10:25 AM
GOP Sen. Josh Hawley: Big Tech Embraces Addiction As A Business Model

Source: AP Photo/Jeff Roberson

Republican Senator Josh Hawley introduced a bill on Tuesday that would ban social media companies from using "addictive" features in their platforms and apps. The Missouri senator says that the Social Media Addiction Reduction Technology (SMART) Act would bar companies like Youtube and Facebook from offering more content than an individual has requested in order to prevent users from being enticed to use their websites more often. 

"Big Tech has embraced addiction as a business model. Their ‘innovation’ isn't designed to create better products, but to capture attention by using psychological tricks that make it impossible to look away," Sen. Hawley tweeted. 

"Time to expect more & better from Silicon Valley," he added. 

The Hill reports that the SMART Act  "would ban YouTube's 'autoplay' feature, which loads up new videos for users automatically; Facebook and Twitter's 'infinite scroll,' which allows users to continue scrolling through their homepages without limit; and Snapchat's 'streaks' which reward users for continuing to send photos to their friends," among other limits.

Hawley has long been a critic of social media, going so far as to call it a "digital drug" in which "the addiction is the point" this past May.

The bill does not have any co-sponsors thus far.