Social media users may soon be able to easily transfer their personal information to competing platforms. On October 22, 2019, a bipartisan group of U.S. senators (Mark R. Warner (D-VA), Josh Hawley (R-MO), and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT)) introduced the Augmenting Compatibility and Competition by Enabling Service Switching Act (ACCESS Act), a bill aimed at encouraging market-based competition among today’s major social media platforms by requiring the largest of these tech companies to allow users to move their data from one service to another.
The bill, should it become law, would be regulated and enforced by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), and would require large communications platforms (products or services with over 100 million monthly active users in the U.S.) to:
- Make users’ personal data portable, by allowing users to retrieve and/or transfer their personal data in a structure and machine-readable format.
- Maintain interoperability with other platforms, including competing companies.
- Give users the ability to designate a trusted third-party service to manage their privacy, content, online interactions, and account settings.