Social Media Companies To Face Strict Regulations This Year

Regulators are cracking down hard on social media companies in 2023 in ways that include implementing more laws to safeguard children and aiming to protect the public by stopping the sale of counterfeit merchandise.

By Charlene Badasie | Published

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Social Media companies may face a new wave of regulations in 2023. The news comes after Congress recently passed a bipartisan spending bill banning TikTok from government devices in the United States. The bill, which CNN says President Joe Biden signed last week, also calls on e-commerce platforms to vet their markets more thoroughly. It aims to prevent counterfeit products from being sold online.

Additionally, companies pursuing large mergers will be forced to pay more to file with federal antitrust agencies. However, lawmakers failed to pass the most aggressive social media-related bills in 2022. This includes legislation that requires Apple and Google’s app stores to give more payment options to developers. Measures to mandate new guardrails to protect children online were also unsuccessful, CNBC reports.

Fortunately, Congress has made progress toward a compromise bill on national privacy standards. But there are only a few state laws that determine how social media users’ data is protected. While bipartisan support exists for many of these regulations, lobbying from tech companies is so powerful that even with strong support these bills can fall apart within 24 hours.

Additionally, Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen told CNBC that since social media platforms use similar algorithms, regulators should push for more transparency about how they work. She added that most people are unaware of how far behind the United States is when it comes to regulating social sites. “This is like we’re back in 1965, and we don’t have seatbelt laws yet,” she said.

Speaking to NBC’s Meet the Press, Senator Amy Klobuchar said change surrounding how social media companies operate will only come when American citizens decide they have had enough. “We are really lagging behind,” she told the publication. She added that passing at least one of these bills should be a New Year’s resolution for 2023.

Meanwhile, several social media companies were in the crosshairs of Congress in 2022. And, according to government official Mike Gallagher, that trend is expected to continue. During an interview with NBC, he compared TikTok to a “digital fentanyl” due to its highly addictive and destructive nature. “We’re seeing troubling data about the corrosive impact of constant use, particularly on young men and women in America,” he said.

He also believes that user data effectively goes back to the Chinese Communist Party. As such, Gallagher thinks the video-sharing social media app should be banned in the United States. He was recently appointed to chair the new select committee in the new Congress by House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy. Responding to Gallagher’s comments, the site’s parent company ByteDance said the claims are completely untrue.

“The Chinese Communist Party has neither direct nor indirect control of ByteDance or TikTok,” the social media giant said in a statement via CNN Business. “ByteDance is a private, global company, nearly 60% of which is owned by global institutional investors. The rest is owned primarily by the company’s founders and its employees, including thousands of Americans.” However, the company declined to comment on the House restrictions.