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DETOUR bill aims to reign in deceptive social media practices

Accepted submission by RandomFactor at 2019-04-13 22:12:21 from the click here to agree and continue dept.

A bipartisan Senate bill introduced [] Tuesday by senators Deb Fischer (R-NE) and Mark R. Warner (D-VA) aims to ban social networks' social engineering tricks [].

The Deceptive Experiences To Online Users Reduction (DETOUR) Act []

takes aim at some of the sneakier tactics social media companies use to coerce people into handing over their personal information. It would also prohibit the companies from choosing groups of people for behavioral experiments without first obtaining informed consent.

Additionally larger Online platforms (those with with over 100 million active users within a month) "would also be prohibited from designing addictive games for children under the age of 13."

These behaviors have been dubbed "Dark Patterns" referring to

online interfaces in websites and apps designed to intentionally manipulate users into taking actions they would otherwise not take under normal circumstances. These design tactics, drawn from extensive behavioral psychology research, are frequently used by social media platforms to mislead consumers into agreeing to settings and practices advantageous to the company.

The bill also addresses practices which make unnecessarily difficult to take the privacy conscious route in configuring settings, and nosy defaults, as well as other methods of (mis)leading users into providing data

The politicians don't try to hide their motivations -- this is a direct response to the all too frequent data scandals at Facebook [], Google [], Twitter [] and other heavyweights.

The Senate Commerce Committee is currently drafting a national data privacy bill that this may be rolled into.

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