House Democrats on Thursday announced new legislation to remove legal liability protections for popular tech platforms that use an algorithm to recommend content that may contribute to real-world harm.
The Malicious Algorithm Justice Act would limit liability protections for platforms that knowingly or recklessly recommend third-party information, according to a bill shared by lawmakers.
“The days of self-regulation are over, and this bill holds them accountable,” said House of Commons Energy and Commerce Committee chairman Frank Pallone, Democrat of New Jersey. “Designing custom algorithms that promote extremism, disinformation and harmful content is a conscious choice, and platforms should respond to it. “
He said social media platforms put profits before people and he believes the country is paying the price.
The bill would amend section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which generally provides immunity for website platforms from lawsuits relating to third-party content.
The bill’s Democratic co-sponsors – Mr. Pallone, Mike Doyle of Pennsylvania, Anna Eshoo of California and Jan Schakowsky of Illinois – said the legislation will be introduced on Friday.
The bill also includes exemptions for small businesses, which are defined by the popularity of the tech platform or social media company rather than its number of employees or financial data such as numbers. annual income. In particular, the small business exemption applies to interactive computer services with “5,000,000 or less unique monthly visitors or users for at least 3 of the previous 12 months”.
Popular social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter tout monthly active users well above the exemption. Facebook said in July that the company has an average of 2.9 billion monthly active users as of June 30, 2021, and Twitter said in July that it has an average of 206 million daily active users.
Several of the co-sponsors have explicitly cited Facebook as the target of the legislation.
The upcoming bill isn’t the only bill that would crack down on technology. Senators Amy Klobuchar, Democrat of Minnesota, and Charles E. Grassley, Republican of Iowa, are set to introduce legislation to prevent big tech platforms like Amazon and Google from promoting their own services in results search on their platforms.
“When dominant technology companies exclude their rivals and kill the competition, it hurts small businesses and can increase costs for YOU,” Ms. Klobuchar said on Twitter. “My new bipartisan legislation with @ChuckGrassley will set new rules of conduct to prevent large companies from eliminating their smaller competitors.”