US targets addictive app designs - Mobile World Live

US targets addictive app designs

30 JUL 2019

US politicians sought to impose new regulations on major technology platforms, proposing legislation which would outlaw so-called addictive social media features and give consumers better tools to manage their screen time.

Infinite scroll designs like those used by Facebook and Twitter; autoplay; and vanity achievement badges such as Snap’s Snapstreak would all be prohibited under the measure.

Instead, social media platforms would be required to include “natural stopping points” to make it easier for consumers to exit their apps, and create in-app tools (similar to those offered by Apple and Google) which allow consumers to both monitor and set limits on their usage.

Senator Josh Hawley, the bill’s sponsor, stated the measure aims to combat “a business model of addiction” employed by technology giants.

“Too much of the ‘innovation’ in this space is designed not to create better products, but to capture more attention by using psychological tricks that make it difficult to look away. This legislation will put an end to that and encourage true innovation by tech companies.”

Exemptions would allow music streaming services to maintain their continuous play formats. Achievement features would also be permitted where they are used to substantially increase access to new services or functionality.

The bill also takes aim at deceptive features that make it difficult for users to decline consent, requiring “accept” an “decline” options to be offered in the same formats, fonts and sizes.

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Diana Goovaerts

Diana joins Mobile World Live as its new US Editor, reporting on infrastructure and spectrum rollouts, regulatory issues, and other carrier news from the US market. Diana comes to GSMA from her former role as Editor of Wireless Week and...

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