Image source: Tobacco Reporter
Social media: The installation of TikTok on mobile devices used by the government employees was prohibited under the bipartisan spending bill that Congress passed last week.
As 2023 approaches, groups and lawmakers unveiled ideas for more regulation of social media companies.
Chinese firm ByteDance owns the video-sharing app, which has more than 1 billion monthly users.
Lawmakers and FBI Director Christopher Wray have openly expressed their opinions on TikTik’s ownership structure.
They contended that the structure divulges data about US consumers.
By law, Chinese-based companies are required to give the government access to user data at request.
The two Chinese regulations that have disturbed the US administration since 2019 are the National Intelligence Law of 2017 and the Counter-Espionage Law of 2014.
The Counter-Espionage law states that when state security agencies holds an espionage investigation and finds important information, businesses and people “may not refuse” to share it.
As stated in Article 7 of the Intelligence Law, organizations or individuals are expected to help, aid, and cooperate with governmental intelligence initiatives.
The state likewise shelters people who help them.
Little has changed since their comments, despite TikTok’s repeated assurances that US customer data is not stored in China.
TikTok has been compared by Wisconsin Republican Rep. Mike Gallagher to “digital fentanyl.”
Additionally, he believes that the app has to be wholly blocked across the board.
“It’s highly addictive and destructive,” said Gallagher.
“We’re seeing troubling data about the corrosive impact of constant social media use, particularly on young men and women here in America.”
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Social media regulation
Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen says Twitter, YouTube, and other social networking sites like TikTok employ the same algorithms.
She believes that the regulators’ initial action should be to make their activities more transparent.
The majority of individuals are oblivious of the US’s inferior social media regulation versus other countries, claims Haugen.
“This is like we’re back in 1965,” said Haugen. “We don’t have seatbelt laws yet.”
Tech bills in 2022
The year prior, Congress failed to enact some of the most extreme provisions of technology-related legislation.
Among the laws that were vetoed were an antitrust law and a measure to protect children.
Legislators drafted a bill that explicitly targeted Apple’s and Google’s app stores for mobile devices in the middle of 2022.
The law also imposed sanctions on developers.
Some of the same goals are found in the American Innovation and Choice Online Act.
The Act prohibits larger businesses from treating or favoring their own products over their rivals.
According to the idea, if the app store had more than 50 million US users, developers would not be compelled to use the platform’s payment method for distribution.
In addition, selling their products for less elsewhere is not punishable behavior for app developers.
Kids Online Safety Act
Senators Marsha Blackburn and Richard Blumenthal introduced bipartisan legislation in November to impose restrictions on websites that minors under 16 may access.
The proposed regulation would oblige platforms to prohibit content that would endanger the physical or mental health of young users, such as the following:
- Encouragement of addictive behavior
- Enabling online bullying
- Predatory marketing
The regulation also stipulates that connection limitations and default privacy settings must be adhered to by websites.
Several organizations continued to oppose the legislation even after it underwent revisions.
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Even while Congress made substantial headway toward a consensus measure on national privacy standards in 2022, there is still a patchwork of state regulations regulating how to preserve customer data.
According to Senator Amy Klobuchar, many of the proposals that have made it to the Senate floor have support from both parties.
She did issue a warning, though, that the enormous power of the tech sector might cause strong bipartisan support to fade over the course of the next 24 hours.
The American people will demand social media reform, according to Klobuchar, once they decide they have had enough.
“We are lagging behind,” said Klobuchar.
“It is time for 2023, let it be our resolution, that we finally pass one of these bills.”
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