A mandate for algorithm-free social media might not be the answer.

I’m not sure this is the way to a solution:

A bipartisan collective of House lawmakers introduced legislation on Nov. 9 that would require Big Tech providers such as Facebook and Google to allow users to opt-out of content selected by algorithms, providing additional transparency regarding content.

The measure, dubbed the Filter Bubble Transparency Act in the House (pdf), would make platforms with more than 1 million users and $50 million in annual revenue notify users of algorithm usage and allow users to determine settings.

Politicians shouldn’t be coming up with solutions and tweaking the services of private companies.  Again, the emphasis of government should be on safeguarding rights, not on regulating an industry to conform with lawmakers’ sense of fairness.

Rather than require businesses to provide features — which the tech folks will find ways around faster than government can regulate them, and which will create barriers to the real solution, which is competition — government should emphasize prevention of fraud.  In this case, that would probably mean allowing users to access information about how an algorithm is affecting them.  Then let consumers, providers, and the courts sort it out.

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