Social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram hold a lot of data on us. Some of this data is user submitted, where we express our likes and dislikes based on posts we interact with, people and accounts we follow, and so on. However, there is also a lot of data being collected that we might not necessarily know about.
Researchers have tried over the years to try and gauge and study the data that these platforms have collected, but some of them have made it difficult to do so. So much so that a new bill sponsored by Senators Klobuchar (D-MN), Coons (D-DE), and Portman (R-OH) is proposing that social media companies have to share with third-party researchers should it be requested.
The reason behind this bill, as we stated previously, is because some social media platforms have made it difficult to request such data under normal circumstances. There have been reports in the past where Meta (which owns Facebook) has been found to provide incomplete data sets, and not too long ago, they also deplatformed New York University researchers who were trying to study misinformation and political ads found on Facebook.
It is unclear if this bill will be signed and become law, but it is clear that some lawmakers think that maybe it’s time that social media companies stop self-policing themselves.