Josh Hawley’s Social Media “SMART” Act Is Government Censorship

Josh Hawley’s Social Media “SMART” Act Is Government Censorship

Josh Hawley’s Social Media “SMART” Act Is Government Censorship

Senator Josh Hawley’s Social Media Addiction Reduction (“SMART”) Act puts the government squarely in the middle of American citizens private business. Government censorship is the Missouri Republican’s answer to the very real issues and flaws with social media. He’s wrong.

Our Constitution is designed to operate as a LIMITED government. Yet Josh is now telling us that MORE government will fix the problems we have with Big Tech.

Here’s a sampling of what his bill, which you can read in full here, aims to do.

  • Ban autoplay, infinite scroll, and other addicting features on social media
  • Require companies to design ways to allow users greater freedom to accept or decline content
  • Puts the FTC and HHS in charge
  • Empower users to control how much tine they spend on social media.

Hawley has railed against Big Tech on multiple occasions in the last few months. Hawley is of the firm belief that if we, meaning the government, puts checks and balances on the big tech social media folks, then quite a bit of what is wrong in society will start getting better. Pretty naive for a Constitutional attorney and Senator don’t you think?

Social media is a force for good in many ways, and it’s also a major sewage dump.

Jordan Peterson and Ben Shapiro are correct, trying to have a reasoned and reasonable discussion on platforms like Twitter are, most of the time, completely untenable.

And then we have tech platforms running their own brand of censorship against conservatives or anyone who doesn’t blindly march in lockstep with whatever flavor of the day the left deems important. However, is this intrusive big government “SMART” Act the answer? No, no it is not.

Furthermore, what this act mirrors, whether Hawley realizes it or not, is the tech crackdown and censorship that countries such as China engage in all the time.

Has too much screen time been harmful to our kids? Yes, in several ways it has. And so, Josh Hawley wants to HELP THE KIDS! He wants to save us all from ourselves. From the bill:

“(A)utomatically limits the amount of time that a user may spend on those platforms across all devices to 30 minutes a day unless the user elects to adjust or remove the time limit and, if the user elects to increase or remove the time limit, resets the time limit to 30 minutes a day on the first day of every month…displays a conspicuous pop-up to a user not less than once every 30 minutes that the user spends on those platforms, regardless of whether the user spent the 30 minutes on multiple devices, that shows how much time the user has spent on those platforms that day.”

First of all, if reading the above doesn’t send a chill down your spine, it should. Shades of 1984!! Secondly, carefully read the paragraph again.

Hawley has literally written government censorship into the bill. With that passage alone, he is telling Big Tech to design a feature across all their social media platforms that will track how much each American citizen spends on their laptops/desktops/iPads/cellphones and more. What could possibly go wrong here?

As stated above, social media can be a garbage dump. However, it also does great things. It reunites long-lost families, celebrates special occasions and achievements, helps businesses grow by expanding their marketing reach, and it educates. Prager U is a prime example on YouTube.

Josh Hawley’s “SMART” Act is government intrusion at its worst. Hawley is essentially telling us that because of horrors of Big Tech, all of us need the government to step in and be our hall monitors.

I’ll leave our readers with the following question. Everything that this “SMART” Act proposes also means that there will be monitors working to ensure the rules will be followed. Who will monitor the Big Tech monitors?

Welcome Instapundit Readers!

Feature Photo Credit: Social Networking via Pixabay, cropped and modified

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5 Comments
  • — Has too much screen time been harmful to our kids? Yes, in several ways it has. And so, Josh Hawley wants to HELP THE KIDS! He wants to save us all from ourselves. —

    Upon the very instant you hear a politician say “It’s for the children” or any equivalent, it’s time to go for your gun.

    This…person does not deserve to style himself a Republican.

  • Mimi says:

    Thank you Nina. The problem with ill-advised solutions like this is not that they will get passed – most of the time, people come to their sense and bills like this go nowhere. The problem is that they suck all the oxygen out of the room, when people could actually be giving time and energy to adress the abuses of Big Tech in non-statist ways.

  • […] solution that involves Government censorship is not a good […]

  • Scott says:

    Not only no, but HELL NO!!! This individual needs to rethink his association as a conservative / republican. It seems he may be a “constitutional scholar” of the same stripe as the previous occupant.. and about as ignorant on the subject.
    This proposal needs to die a quick and painful death! Conservatives do NOT advocate for govt. control. Social media overuse is a problem that should be addressed by parents and individuals, not govt.

  • GWB says:

    Social Media Addiction Reduction (“SMART”) Act
    Where’s the ‘T’ come from? There’s a ‘t’ in “reduction”, but it’s not a hard ‘t’ sound, as in “smart”. *smdh*
    Egad, if you can’t even make a stupid acronym properly, why in H*** would I want you running my computer systems?!?

    puts checks and balances on the big tech social media folks
    Well, yes. But they should be mostly market checks and balances.
    The problem you have right now is that you allowed websites to turn into a platforms. Turn them back into interoperable websites, and the problem doesn’t go away, but it at least has competition.

    regardless of whether the user spent the 30 minutes on multiple devices
    Say what? How the h*** is any system going to know I spent 30 minutes on a site on multiple devices? The only way is for the site itself to spy on me (like it already does). And the ‘SMART’ Act is going to encourage this?
    (BTW, I often use different accounts in different situations, specifically to confound snoopers. How would the ‘SMART’ Act deal with that?)

    Josh Hawley’s “SMART” Act is…
    ‘DUMB’.

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