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H.R. 3611 (117th): Algorithmic Justice and Online Platform Transparency Act

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The summary below was written by the Congressional Research Service, which is a nonpartisan division of the Library of Congress, and was published on Apr 11, 2022.

Algorithmic Justice and Online Platform Transparency Act

This bill establishes requirements for certain commercial online platforms (e.g., social media sites) that withhold or promote content through algorithms and related computational processes that use personal information.

The platforms must

make disclosures about their collection and use of personal information and their content moderation practices; retain specified records that describe how the algorithms use personal information and assess whether the algorithms produce disparate outcomes based on race and other demographic factors in terms of access to housing, employment, financial services, and related matters; employ algorithms safely and effectively; and allow users to access and transfer their personal information. If a platform uses algorithms to publish or sell advertising, it must maintain a library of the advertisements. The Federal Trade Commission must also adopt rules concerning deceptive advertising.

A platform's chief executive officer or other senior officer must certify compliance with disclosure requirements.

Additionally, platforms may not (1) employ algorithms or other design features that result in discrimination or similar harms based on demographic or biometric factors, or (2) process information such that it impairs voting rights. Further, users of a platform may not violate civil rights laws using the platform's algorithms.

The bill prohibits waivers or other methods that limit rights under the bill; provides whistleblower protections for individuals who report violations; and authorizes enforcement by specified federal agencies, states, and private individuals.

The bill also provides funding for an interagency task force to study the discriminatory use of personal information by platforms' algorithms.