Platform Accountability and Transparency Act Reintroduced in Senate

John Perrino is a policy analyst at the Stanford Internet Observatory. The Platform Accountability and Transparency Act (PATA) — first released as a draft in 2021 and formally introduced in 2022 — was reintroduced today with minor changes and new bipartisan support. The legislation, sponsored by Sen. Chris Coons (D-DE), would create a program facilitated by the National Science Foundation (NSF) for researchers to request access to certain 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 have to explain how their recommendation and ranking algorithms work and provide statistics on content moderation actions. Researchers or journalists who responsibly collect and analyze publicly available data from social media sites would also receive legal protections if they adhere to privacy, security and public interest work requirements. Notably, 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 updated bill. “Social media platforms shape the information that billions of people across the globe consume, but we still know far too little about how they operate and the impact they have on each of us and our society. Right now, Congress and the public have no way to verify whether or how safe these products really…Platform Accountability and Transparency Act Reintroduced in Senate