Do You Support Banning Autoplay Videos and Endless Scrolling?
Do you support legislation banning autoplay videos and endless scrolling?
by Countable | 8.1.19
What’s the story?
- As if Black Mirror didn’t already make us aware of the addictiveness of social media (have you ever checked your phone while driving and killed your spouse in the process?)
- Video autoplay, endless content scrolling, and Snapstreaks may come to an end if Sen. Josh Hawley’s (R-MO) Social Media Addiction Reduction Technology Act (SMART Act) is approved.
- In a 2018 Pew Research Center study, 45% of teenagers surveyed said they're online “almost constantly.” The percentage almost doubled from when the survey was conducted in 2014-15.
What would the SMART Act do?
- SMART would require platforms to implement “natural stopping points” so users need to actively choose to stay engaged for prolonged periods, instead of being sucked into endless feeds. An example of this would be selecting another video to watch after one plays on YouTube—instead of the next video automatically playing.
- The proposal also requires social media companies to create a “user-friendly interface” that actively displays how much time users spend on any platform, and allows users to set limits to how long they spend on social media websites and apps.
- The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) would be required to provide a report on the “issue of Internet addiction” at least every three years. The report would investigate how social media companies interfere with free choice of individuals on the Internet by exploiting human psychology and brain physiology.
What are people saying?
- “Big tech has embraced a business model of addiction,” Hawley said.
“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.”
- “Social media companies deploy a host of tactics designed to manipulate users in ways that undermines their wellbeing,” Josh Golin, executive director of campaign for a Commercial Free Childhood, said.
- The Internet Association backs the Children and Media Advancement (CAMRA) Act, which will fund a study conducted by the National Institutes of Health to examine how media and technology affect children’s health.
“Funding for independent scientific research is critical to better understand the impact of screen time and identify more ways to enhance people’s well-being on and offline” Beckerman’s statement said.
- “I just read all of Sen. Hawley’s ‘SMART’ act and it is pretty much the opposite of smart,” conservative content specialist Alec Sears tweeted.
“Probably the most bonkers part is this: Hawley wants social media platforms to limit usage to 30 minutes a day by default.”
- Michael Beckerman, President and Chief Executive of The internet Association, which represents companies like Twitter, Facebook, and Snap said in a statement that social platforms are already investing and participating in programs to “promote healthy online experiences.” The association added that tools to help users regulate their time online already exist.
What do you think?
Do you think that social media is addictive, and limitations need to be placed on social platforms? Why or why not? Contact your representatives then share your opinions below.
(Photo Credit: iStock / Enes Evren)
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