The recently revised U.K. Online Safety Bill has removed a controversial measure, demonstrating the importance of public opinion in influencing policy-making. This comes days after the U.S. passed a spending bill banning TikTok from government devices, due to concerns about user data vulnerability. Despite assurances from the company, some lawmakers have compared the app to "digital fentanyl," and have urged for its ban to be expanded nationwide.
Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen suggested that regulators push for more transparency about how social media algorithms work, while Sen. Amy Klobuchar noted that the tech lobby is so powerful that bills with strong, bipartisan support can fall apart "within 24 hours."
Despite this, Congress did make more headway this year than in the past towards a compromise bill on national privacy standards, demonstrating the potential for progress when it comes to regulating the tech industry. Ultimately, it is up to the public to push for legislative reform when they believe enough is enough.