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(Natalie Bauer • The Student Life)
I often find myself checking Instagram before going to sleep, looking at my Explore page, which is filled almost entirely with food videos, for one reason or another. It’s easy to rationalize losing 30 seconds of sleep to take a gander and a gamble on the next video to see if it’ll be more entertaining, over and over again.
There are three factors at play here: technology, entertainment and algorithms. It’s a combination of these three things that makes these late-night social media sessions a shared experience among our generation.
Previous attempts to alleviate this issue through legislation have occurred. The SMART Act, introduced in 2019, would ban infinite scrolling, abolish built-in reward systems and introduce stopping points in social media platforms. It’s a start but certainly not a complete solution.
Platforms like TikTok should be allowed to show users content that they may like, but they shouldn’t be allowed to do so to such an extent that users do not want to turn away from their screens. Without legislation explicitly disallowing social media algorithms of this level of efficiency, there is no reason for corporations to stop improving their algorithms.
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