Democrats unveil bill that targets 'malicious algorithms' of tech companies and Section 230

Companies like Facebook and Twitter may soon be held accountable for how their algorithm impacts users.

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As social media has become a more and more significant part of society and culture, concerns about its negative impact have gotten equally serious. These sites typically lean on algorithms, ones that study users’ tendencies and use that information to serve them related content, though these recommendations can often cross a line and lead to a multitude of issues. Social media companies like Facebook and Twitter may soon be more responsible in these instances following a new bill from Democrats.

Earlier today, Democratic lawmakers proposed a bill that would put more accountability on the side of social media companies in cases where their algorithms end up harming users, as reported by The Washington Post. The proposed bill would allow legal action to be taken against the social media companies in question.

This new proposal comes not long after Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen revealed a slew of internal secrets about the company, such as the fact that the company relaxed its misinformation filters after the 2020 Presidential Election, or that Facebook is fully aware that it only moderates between 3-5% of the hateful content on its platform. Other reports state that young people are more likely to commit suicide after using Instagram.

“Designing personalized algorithms that promote extremism, disinformation and harmful content is a conscious choice, and platforms should have to answer for it,” said Frank Pallone Jr., one of the lawmakers behind the bill. In addition to Pallone, the new bill is being presented by Mike Doyle, Jan Schakowsky, and Anna Eshoo.

It’s not the first time that lawmakers have looked to put more pressure on social media companies, but recent reports about Facebook’s behavior may give more credence to the latest attempt. For more on how the political world is taking on social media, we’ve got you covered here on Shacknews.

Contributing Editor

Donovan is a young journalist from Maryland, who likes to game. His oldest gaming memory is playing Pajama Sam on his mom's desktop during weekends. Pokémon Emerald, Halo 2, and the original Star Wars Battlefront 2 were some of the most influential titles in awakening his love for video games. After interning for Shacknews throughout college, Donovan graduated from Bowie State University in 2020 with a major in broadcast journalism and joined the team full-time. He is a huge Star Wars nerd and film fanatic that will talk with you about movies and games all day. You can follow him on twitter @Donimals_

From The Chatty
    • reply
      October 14, 2021 11:24 AM

      Sounds pretty vague, I doubt it will be very effective in combating extremism and general misinformation/propaganda.

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        October 14, 2021 1:02 PM

        But will it be better or worse than what's there now?

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          October 14, 2021 1:11 PM

          maybe very slightly better. Needs more (maybe it's coming)

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            October 14, 2021 1:15 PM

            I'll take progress that is available over progress that may-or-may-not ever be. Waiting for perfect will kill us.

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              October 14, 2021 1:17 PM

              I don't think we disagree, however I also think it's reasonable to be critical of what is being done and to want more/better.

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                October 14, 2021 1:22 PM

                Indeed. I just don't like it when the noise of "it's not perfect" drowns out any comfort in there being progress at all. I see it too much, and it's got us all echo-chambering ourselves into dire bitterness. Progress is a slow march of many steps (some even backwards), not hanging back waiting for a silver-bullet.

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      October 14, 2021 2:42 PM

      Sounds like a perfect idea, with the best of intentions. What could possibly go wrong?

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