Default message to the Federal Trade Commission:
I support the Petition for Rulemaking to Prohibit the Use on Children of Design Features that Maximize for Engagement that was filed on November 17, 2022. When children and teens go online, they should not be subjected to design features that have been engineered to maximize their time and activities online.
Design features that maximize time and activity online—such as autoplay, endless scroll, and strategically timed advertisements—harm minors emotionally, developmentally, and physically. These are substantial harms that cannot and should not be ignored.
I call on the FTC to step in to protect minors from these substantial harms by adopting a rule prohibiting the use of certain categories of manipulative design practices on minors. The FTC should prohibit the use on minors of low-friction variable rewards design features, navigation manipulation design features, and social manipulation design features.
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In November, Fairplay, the Center for Digital Democracy, and 19 other organizations (including American Academy of Pediatrics, Center for Humane Technology, and Public Citizen) filed a petition with the Federal Trade Commission urging it to take action to protect kids and teens from design practices that are harmful to minors—specifically, practices that maximize users' time and activity online.
In particular, we asked the FTC to prohibit the use of three categories of harmful online design features for minors:
1. Low-friction variable rewards design features. These design features encourage compulsive behavior by rewarding minors unpredictably for merely scrolling, tapping, and/or logging onto a website or service in order to maximize a minor’s time on the service.
2. Design features that manipulate navigation. These design features make it difficult for minors to freely navigate or cease use of a website or service.
3. Social manipulation design features. These design features leverage a minor’s desire for social relationships to encourage greater time spent and/or activities performed on a website or service.
Now, we need your help. The FTC will soon ask the public to weigh in on this issue, and we need you to tell them how important the issue is!
Thank you for telling the FTC to ban manipulative design features for kids and teens! Keep an eye on your inbox for updates on this important action.