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Platform Accountability and Transparency Act - S.1876

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The bill would create a program facilitated by the National Science Foundation (NSF) for researchers to request access to specific data from social media companies and require the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to develop privacy and security protocols for the program. The bill also includes public transparency requirements for social media platforms, including provisions for public access to advertising libraries and disclosures on “highly disseminated,’’ or viral, content. Online platforms would also need to explain how their recommendation and ranking algorithms work and provide statistics on content moderation actions. Finally, researchers or journalists who responsibly collect and analyze publicly available data from social media sites would receive legal protections if they adhere to privacy, security, and public interest work requirements.

The bill was first released as a draft in 2021 and formally introduced in 2022. A provision to revoke controversial Section 230 protections from platforms that fail to comply with approved data requests from researchers has been removed from the current version of the bill.

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