More social media regulation is coming in 2023, congressmen say

Britain’s Online Safety Bill, which aims to regulate the internet, has been revised to remove a controversial but essential measure.

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Days after Congress passed a bipartisan spending bill banning TikTok from government devices, lawmakers and advocates say they are looking to further regulate social media companies in the new year.

TikTok, a video-sharing app owned by Chinese company ByteDance, attracts over a billion users every month. Lawmakers and FBI Director Christopher Wray have expressed concern that TikTok’s ownership structure could leave US users’ data vulnerable, as China-based companies may be required by law to hand over the information. users.

TikTok has repeatedly said that its US user data is not based in China, though those assurances have done little to assuage concerns.

Rep. Mike Gallagher, R-Wisc., compared TikTok to “digital fentanyl” on Sunday, telling NBC’s “Meet the Press” that he thinks the app ban should be expanded nationwide.

“It’s very addictive and destructive,” he said. “We see disturbing data on the corrosive impact of the constant use of social media, especially on young men and women here in America.”

Facebook Whistleblower Frances Haugen said on Sunday that since social media platforms like TikTok, Twitter and YouTube operate using similar algorithms, adding regulators should push for more transparency about how they operate as a first step.

Haugen said she thinks most people don’t realize how far behind the United States is when it comes to regulating social media.

“It’s like we’re back in 1965, we don’t have seat belt laws yet,” she told NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

Congress failed to pass many of the most aggressive tech-targeting bills in 2022, including antitrust legislation that would require app stores developed by Apple and Google to offer developers more payment options, and a measure imposing new safeguards to protect children online. Congress has made more progress this year than in the past toward a compromise bill on national privacy standards, but only a patchwork of state laws remains determining how consumer data is protected.

Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., said bipartisan support exists for many of these bills, and many have reached the Senate floor. But she said the tech lobby is so powerful that bills with “strong, bipartisan support” can crumble “within 24 hours”.

Klobuchar said Sunday that things would only change with social media companies when Americans decide they’ve had enough.

“We’re behind,” she told NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “It’s time for 2023, let this be our resolution, that we finally pass one of these bills.”

– CNBC’s Lauren Feiner contributed to this report

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