Is infinite scrolling illegal?

Answer: Not yet, but Congress is exploring the possibility.

by / July 31, 2019
Shutterstock/Maria Savenko

Introduced by Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., the Social Media Addiction Reduction Technology (SMART) Act seeks to curb social media addiction by banning certain online features like videos that play automatically and pages that immediately load more content every time you scroll to the bottom.

What the bill is really trying to get at is online platforms like Facebook and Twitter whose interfaces incorporate what are known as dark patterns. These are elements that are deliberately designed to keep a user’s attention continually engaged on the platform, often more than they should be.

In addition to the bans on dark patterns, the SMART Act would also require social media companies to set a default limit of 30 minutes of use per day for accounts. Users would be able to change their settings to longer use times, but each month it would revert back to the default setting.

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