Kennedy introduces Don’t Push my Buttons Act to deny immunity to manipulative social media companies
Jul 13 2021
WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today introduced the Don’t Push My Buttons Act in response to social media platforms that track personal data to polarize and provoke online users. The bill would deny legal immunity under the Communications Act of 1934 to platforms that leverage user data to promote divisive content without permission from those users.
“Social media giants are using people’s data to manipulate them into spending more time on their sites, but the price is a more polarized America. It’s time to stop rewarding platforms that use their algorithms to target users with content that plays on individuals’ emotions without their consent. If these companies wield user data to foment division, they should not continue to enjoy such unfettered liability protections,” said Kennedy.
Many social media platforms collect data to identify their users’ “hot buttons”—divisive issues that create strong emotional responses or reactions. The companies then employ algorithms that intentionally show their users content designed to agitate them.
The Don’t Push my Buttons Act would narrow the scope of the liability limitation provided under Section 230 of the Communications Act, denying immunity to platforms that use algorithms to optimize engagement by pushing divisive content into users’ feeds.
Text of the Don’t Push My Buttons Act is available here.