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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

A bipartisan group of House lawmakers has introduced a bill that would require online platforms to let users opt out of having personal data-driven algorithms select the content they see, according to a copy of the text shared exclusively with Axios.

Driving the news: Recent revelations about Facebook's internal research findings have renewed lawmaker interest in bills that seek to give people more of a say in how algorithms shape their online experiences.

Why it matters: The bill shows that anger over how platforms use their algorithms to target users with specialized content is a bipartisan issue with momentum on Capitol Hill.

  • The algorithms that personalize content on social networks and other apps can make services addictive, violate users' privacy and promote extremism, critics and many lawmakers argue. Conservatives have also claimed that services deliberately censor their speech.

What's happening: The Filter Bubble Transparency Act would require internet platforms to let people use a version of their services where content is not selected by "opaque algorithms" driven by personal data. It's sponsored by Reps. Ken Buck (R-Colo.), David Cicilline (D-R.I.), Lori Trahan (D-Mass.) and Burgess Owens (R-Utah).

  • The Senate version of the bill, also bipartisan, is sponsored by Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), an influential member of Republican leadership. Buck and Cicilline are the bipartisan duo responsible for passing six antitrust bills out of the House Judiciary committee in June.
  • Buck and Thune plan to work together on tech and antitrust issues going forward, a Republican aide told Axios. That could boost the chances of such bills passing muster with Senate Republicans in the future.

What they're saying: "Consumers should have the option to engage with internet platforms without being manipulated by secret algorithms driven by user-specific data," said Buck.

  • Cicilline said: "Facebook and other dominant platforms manipulate their users through opaque algorithms that prioritize growth and profit over everything else. And due to these platforms’ monopoly power and dominance, users are stuck with few alternatives to this exploitative business model, whether it is in their social media feed, on paid advertisements, or in their search results."

Flashback: Last month, Democrats on the House Energy and Commerce committee introduced a bill that would remove online platforms' protection from content liability if they used algorithmic ranking to deliver content that caused harm.

Details: The bill would exempt smaller companies with fewer than 500 employees, those with annual gross receipts lower than $50,000,000 in the last three-year-period, and those that gather data on fewer than one million users annually.

Yes, but: Legislative days in 2021 are running out as Democratic lawmakers scramble to pass President Biden's spending bill.

Editor's note: This story has been updated to clarify that the law aims to cover algorithms that select content based on personal data.

Go deeper

Demand for anime content soars

Data: Parrot analytics; Chart: Will Chase and Allie Carl/Axios

Global demand for anime content grew 118% over the past two years, making it one of the fastest-growing content genres by that metric during the pandemic, according to data from Parrot Analytics.

Why it matters: Surging viewership has led to more deal-making in Hollywood around the genre.

Airlines call for Biden admin's "immediate intervention" in 5G deployment

Photo: Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

The CEOs of leading U.S. air cargo and passenger carriers on Monday warned the Biden administration there could be "catastrophic disruption" after AT&T and Verizon deploy a new 5G service this week.

Driving the news: They said in a letter to Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and other top federal officials ahead of the C-Band 5G service's deployment Wednesday that "the nation's commerce will grind to a halt" and "could potentially strand tens of thousands of Americans overseas."

Updated 3 hours ago - Energy & Environment

Thousands without power as "hazardous" winter storm lashes East Coast

Satellite imagery of the Northeastern U.S. taken by NOAA on Jan. 17. Photo: NOAA

A major winter storm lashed much of the East Coast Sunday and Monday, causing widespread power outages and disrupting travel over the holiday weekend.

The latest: Authorities in North Carolina confirmed that two people died in a car crash and that they responded 600 vehicle accidents during the storm on Sunday, per the Washington Post.