When caught, it seemed like at most these companies would suffer from a temporary hit in reputation, and as history has shown, people are quick to forget. However, it seems that the US government wants companies to be held more accountable, so much so that Sens. Mark Warner (D-VA) and Deb Fischer (R-NE) have introduced a new bill that would ban these companies from tricking users into handing over personal data.
Dubbed the DETOUR (Deceptive Experiences To Online Users Reduction) Act, it would prevent tech companies from designing, modifying, or manipulating a user interface in such a way that would stop a user from making an informed decision before consenting to hand their data over. This would mean that apps like the VPN that Facebook had previously offered to users, would need to be clear and upfront about what it does before users give it consent.
According to Warner, “For years, social media platforms have been relying on all sorts of tricks and tools to convince users to hand over their personal data without really understanding what they are consenting to. Our goal is simple: to instill a little transparency in what remains a very opaque market and ensure that consumers are able to make more informed choices about how and when to share their personal information.”
If successfully passed, this bill would only apply to platforms that have more than 100 million monthly active users, which basically covers all the major social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, just to name a few.