Lummis, Klobuchar Push Social Media Companies to Make Platforms Less Addictive

February 10, 2022

Legislation would promote a safer social media experience for Wyoming children & families

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Cynthia Lummis (R-WY), alongside Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) introduced legislation to study the addictive qualities of social media and give the Federal Trade Commission oversight authority on how social media companies design their platforms. 

“The NUDGE Act is a goodstep toward fully addressing Big Tech overreach,” Senator Lummis said. “By empowering the National Science Foundation and the National Academy of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine 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. We can build a healthier internet without the federal government dictating what people can and can’t say.”

“Social media is affecting our society in profoundly negative ways, and yet the Big Tech companies continue to pursue one goal: they want us to spend as much of our lives on their platforms as humanly possible. Advertisers are the consumer — users are merely the product. And as we learned in the Facebook Papers, this unapologetic pursuit of profit comes at a steep cost: millions of users, including children, have been exposed to psychological manipulation and other harms. Senator Lummis recognizes the direct threat to families posed by the reckless behavior of these Big Tech companies. That’s why she and Senator Klobuchar have introduced a bill to hold them accountable and protect users from some of these harms, such as algorithmic amplification and social media addiction. We are proud to endorse the NUDGE Act and work with Senator Lummis on this important issue,” said Jon Schweppe, of the American Principles Project.

“Although the impacts big tech’s services have on our mental health and even political discourse are well documented, there is still much we don’t know concerning how they fully use their algorithms. The NUDGE Act brings us a significant step closer to shedding light on large tech platforms’ opacity. I applaud the efforts of Senator Lummis for taking this practical, bipartisan approach when bringing this issue to the fore,” said Joel Thayer of the Digital Progress Institute.

Nudging Users to Drive Good Experiences on Social Media (Social Media NUDGE Act) directs the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the National Academy of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) to conduct a study to identify interventions on platforms that would reduce the harms caused by their use of algorithms. It would also empower the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to conduct a rulemaking process to better regulate social media companies and the way content is shared on their platforms. This bill would not give the FTC the authority to regulate the speech that occurs on these platforms.

Click here to view the bill.