The ACCESS Act will require the largest social media companies to make data portable and services interoperable
U.S. Senators Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), Mark Warner (D-Va.), and a group of bipartisan colleagues recently reintroduced the Augmenting Compatibility and Competition by Enabling Service Switching (ACCESS) Act.This bipartisan legislation encourages market-based competition to dominant social media platforms by requiring that the largest companies make user data portable – and their services interoperable – with other platforms.
Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), and Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) are original cosponsors of the legislation. Senator Hawley was also an original cosponsor of the ACCESS Act last Congress.
“The tremendous dominance of a handful of large social media platforms has major downsides – including few options for consumers who face a marketplace with just a few major players and little in the way of real competition,” the senators said. “As we learned in the Microsoft antitrust case, interoperability and portability are powerful tools to restrain anti-competitive behaviors and promote innovative new companies. By making it easier for social media users to easily move their data or to continue to communicate with their friends after switching platforms, startups will be able to compete on equal terms with the biggest social media companies. Additionally, empowering trusted custodial companies to step in on behalf of users to better manage their accounts across different platforms will help balance the playing field between consumers and companies. In other words – by enabling portability, interoperability, and delegatability, this bill will create long-overdue requirements that will boost competition and give consumers the power to move their data from one service to another.”
The Augmenting Compatibility and Competition by Enabling Service Switching (ACCESS) Act would increase market competition, encourage innovation, and increase consumer choice by requiring large communications platforms (products or services with over 100 million monthly active users in the U.S.) to:
- Make their services interoperable with competing communications platforms.
- Permit users to easily port their personal data in a structured, commonly used and machine-readable format.
- Allow users to delegate trusted custodial services, which are required to act in a user’s best interests through a strong duty of care, with the task of managing their account settings, content, and online interactions.