Facebook, Google, Other Social Media Users Could Disable Content Algorithms in New US Proposal


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A bipartisan group of lawmakers in the US House of Representatives has introduced a bill that would require internet platforms like Meta’s Facebook and Alphabet’s Google to allow users to see content not chosen by algorithms.

The legislation, introduced by Representatives Ken Buck, a Republican, and David Cicilline, a Democrat, and others, would require big internet platforms to show consumers information not directed to them via algorithms, putting them outside what the lawmakers called the “filter bubble.”

Cicilline is chair of the House Judiciary Committee’s antitrust panel, and Buck is the top Republican. The panel wrote a big report unveiled last year that sharply criticized big tech companies, including Amazon and Apple.

The House measure is a companion to a bill introduced in the Senate in June. That one is also bipartisan.

“Consumers should have the option to engage with internet platforms without being manipulated by secret algorithms driven by user-specific data,” Buck said in a statement.

There is also a raft of antitrust legislation aimed at the big tech platforms.

Most recently, Senator Amy Klobuchar, a Democrat who chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee’s antitrust panel, and Republican Tom Cotton introduced a bill that would make it easier for the government to stop deals it believes break antitrust law. It is normally up to the government to show a particular transaction would cause prices to rise or is illegal for other reasons.

© Thomson Reuters 2021

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