Social media not to trick users, US senators introduced a bill


    In order to protect consumers from giving up their personal data to online social media companies like Twitter Inc and Facebook Inc who use trickier ways to do so, two U.S. senators have introduced a bill on Tuesday to put a stop to such practices.

    Online platforms, having more than 100 million monthly active users, would also not allowed to design addicting games or websites for children under the age of 13, as ban the bill from Republican Senator Deb Fischer and Democratic Senator Mark Warner.

    Online platforms either tricking people or misleading them into giving their personal data to companies and the current bill is taking an aim to bar such practices, which are also known as “dark patterns” developed by those companies using behavioral psychology.

    Just a click on an “OK” button by the customers in response to a misleading prompt can usually transfer their contacts, photos, messages, location information or browsing history, even without their realization, Fischer said in a statement issued by both senators.

    Selling advertisement is a key source of social media companies to make profits, and their selling abilities are likely to be hurting by imposing restrictions on the way these companies use to collect the information about their users.

    A website, involved in tracking the dark patterns, indentified that some websites or apps were found in a practice of prompting their customers about a new notification whereas there wasn’t any, a misleading behavior used to push the customers to visit the website or open that app so they could be shown advertisements.

    Lawmakers are drafting a federal privacy bill in the Senate Commerce Committee and legislation related to dark patterns could also be included in that bill, Warner told CNBC in an interview.

    Facebook, Google and other online social media platforms have showed their consent for privacy regulation, Warner noted.

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