Large online platforms can help us connect with others, shop, work, and express ourselves, but they also play a key role in the spread of disinformation, discrimination against marginalized groups, romance scams, privacy violations, and other online harms. With the ever-evolving social media landscape, we must enact tools to scrutinize these platforms and safeguard the health of the Internet.
The recently reintroduced bipartisan Platform Accountability and Transparency Act (PATA), co-sponsored by Sens. Chris Coons (D-De.), Dr. Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-La.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), John Cornyn (R-Texas), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), and Mitt Romney (R-Utah), offers such solutions. PATA would require social media platforms to provide access to data for public-interest research projects, and create valuable ad transparency. It would also establish a legal “safe harbor” that would enable legitimate public-interest research, free from threats of legal action (as we do in our Bug Bounty programs), while protecting privacy and security.
Jenn Hodges, Head of US Public Policy said:
“Greater transparency from social media companies is a critical step to understanding and effectively solving hidden harms online. Mozilla’s research teams have seen firsthand how hard it is to access these insights. By shedding much-needed light on the tech ecosystem, the Platform Accountability and Transparency Act will help make the internet a safer, healthier place.”
Mozilla has a long track-record of advocating for researcher access to data in the US and globally. Robust transparency measures are necessary to give policymakers – and all of us – the insights we need to hold platforms accountable. Public policies like PATA can help to keep the Internet in the public’s best interest.