U.S. senator proposes bill to ban Snapchat ‘Snapstreaks’

A bill introduced by a U.S. senator on Tuesday aims to curb overuse of social media by prohibiting Snapchat’s Snapstreak feature, which inspires users to send photos on the app at least once every 24 hours.

The provision to ban the streak feature on Snap Inc’s photo-sharing platform, Snapchat, is a component of Senator Josh Hawley’s “Social Media Addiction Reduction Technology (SMART) Act” to ban “addictive and deceptive techniques” by social media corporations, the Missouri Republican said in a statement.

The Snapstreak feature displays the quantity of days a Snapchat user has continuously sent photos to a different user. If a streak goes unattended for twenty-four hours, it disappears from the user’s app. Some users are so dedicated to their streaks that Snapchat features a form on its website for inquiries to recover lost streaks that may have disappeared mistakenly.

Michael Beckerman, president and chief operating officer of the internet Association, a trade cluster whose members include Snap, said corporations like Snap are endowed in promoting “healthy online experiences” which policy proposals “must be evidence-based.”

Critics of the feature say it pushes users, usually teenagers, to become addicted to the app.

Snapchat was among the “most detrimental” social media networks to young people’s mental health in a 2017 study by the London-based Royal Society for Public Health.

The bill would additionally ban infinite scroll and autoplay options, which offer users with an endless supply of content. Social media platforms would have to embody “natural stopping points,” Hawley said.

Snapchat’s variety of daily active users rose to 203 million within the second quarter from 190 million from the prior quarter, Snap said last week. Snap shares fell 3.2% to close at $16.93 on the New York stock exchange on Tuesday.