Three senators think they have a method to deal with some of the antitrust worries around social media firms. This week, Sens. Josh Hawley, Mark R. Warner, and Richard Blumenthal introduced a bill that might force social media firms to make consumer info “portable,” so that it can be transferred easily to competing platforms.
The ACCESS Act (Augmenting Compatibility and Competition by Enabling Service Switching Act) might permit consumer to, for example, carry all of their Facebook info to a different platform. That can offer smaller platforms a better opportunity at attracting new consumers, which may promote rivalry. The bill might also offer consumers control over the info they share.
Sen. Warner compared the bill from 1996 to legislation that permitted consumers to transfer their contact numbers between suppliers. “By making it simpler for social media consumers to effortlessly shift their info or to carry on to communicate with their buddies after switching services, firms will be capable of vying on equal terms with the largest social media firms,” claimed Sen. Warner.
Previously this year, Sens. Hawley and Warner also planned for forcing firms with 100 Million or more monthly active consumers to pay for consumer data. In the meantime, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), Department of Justice, and state attorneys general are all probing big tech firms over antitrust issues.
On a related note, ByteDance (TikTok owner) may find itself in official trouble in the US over claims that it is censoring criticism of China in other regions of the globe. Senator Marco Rubio sent a letter to Steven Mnuchin (Treasury Secretary) asking for the CFIUS (Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States) to review acquisition of Musical.ly by ByteDance in light of the censorship blames. He disputed that there was “growing and ample evidence” TikTok was silencing US elements to admire Chinese government policies.