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US Senators Announce New Law on Social Media Transparency, Marketing and Promotional News, ET BrandEquity

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U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar (right) and Senator Chris Coons (left)A bipartisan group of US senators announced a new bill that would oblige social media companies to share platform data with independent researchers.

According to The Verge, the bill was announced by Democratic Senators Chris Coons (Delaware), Amy Klobuchar (Minnesota), and also Rob Portman, a Republican from Ohio.

The Platform Accountability and Transparency Act (PATA) would set new rules that would force social media platforms to share data with “qualified researchers,” defined as university-based researchers pursuing National Science Foundation (NSF) approved projects . said the report.

Under the terms of the bill, platforms would be required to comply with data requests once the research was approved by the NSF.

Failure to provide data for a qualifying project would result in the platform losing the immunity provided for in Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act.

“The PATA bill is a really big platform transparency proposal,” said Laura Edelson, a PhD student at NYU Tandon School of Engineering and lead researcher on NYU’s Cybersecurity for Democracy project, quoted on the website.

“If this law were passed, it would provide a real way for researchers to better understand online damage and develop solutions,” added Edelson.

Earlier this year, Edelson and other researchers on the NYU Ad Observatory project were banned from Facebook after the platform alleged their research violated the Terms of Service.

The PATA bill is the latest in a long line of bills aimed at peeking into the black box of social media algorithms.

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