Facebook has increasingly felt pressure from U.S. lawmakers to clean up its act when it comes to protecting user information. The latest volley against the tech giant came this week when Sens. Mark Warner and Josh Hawley introduced the bipartisan Dashboard Act — a bill that could force social media companies like Facebook to disclose the value of user data it collects.
If passed into law, the bill would require “commercial data operators” with more than 100 million monthly active users to disclose data they collect from users, as well as the value of that data. Because as Sen. Warner pointed out, Facebook isn’t really free to use. Instead of a monetary fee, people on the platform are paying with their information.
“These companies take enormous, enormous amounts of data about us,” Warner said in an interview with Axios. “If you’re an avid Facebook user, chances are Facebook knows more about you than the U.S. government knows about you. People don’t realize one, how much data is being collected; and two, they don’t realize how much that data is worth.”
Facebook already publishes a revenue figure per user, but this bill would presumably require the company to make that information more readily available. That’s a long way from happening, but it’s still encouraging to see elected officials taking such a strong stand against Facebook’s data practices.
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