Senate bill aims to make user data portable across social networks

The three senators believe they have a solution to some of the antitrust issues surrounding social media companies. Today, Senators Mark R. Warner (Virginia), Josh Hawley (R-Missouri) and Richard Blumenthal (D- Connecticut) will introduce a bill that will force social media companies to “portable” user data so that it can be easily transferred to competitive services.

Enhance compatibility and competitiveness by enabling the ACCESS Act, for example, allowing users to carry all their Facebook data to another platform. This can give smaller platforms a better chance of attracting new users, which may promote competition. The bill will also give users control over the data they share.

Senator Werner compared the bill to 1996 legislation that allows users to transfer their phone numbers between providers. “By making it easier for social media users to move data or continue communicating with friends after switching platforms, startups will be able to compete on an equal footing with the largest social media company,” Senator Warner said. Known as the “former phone guy” (he co-founded the company that later became Nextel).

Earlier this year, Sens. Warner and Hawley also propose to force companies with more than 100 million monthly active users to pay for user data. Meanwhile, the Department of Justice, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and state attorney generals are investigating large tech companies on antitrust issues.

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