Sens. Warner, Hawley want social media giants to put price tag on user data

Chances are you shop on Amazon, you use Google to search and you share your personal milestones and those of your friends and family on Facebook while also posting your best visuals on Instagram, among other things.

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
AMZN AMAZON.COM INC. 180.75 -0.30 -0.17%
GOOGL ALPHABET INC. 174.99 +1.44 +0.83%
FB n.a. n.a. n.a. n.a.

Those efforts are worth a lot more than you are being given credit for, according to Senators Mark R. Warner, D-Va., and Josh Hawley, R-Mo., who introduced a bill Monday that would require social media giants to disclose how they are making money off your user data.

“For years, social media companies have told consumers that their products are free to the user. But that’s not true – you are paying with your data instead of your wallet,” said Warner in a statement. “Our bipartisan bill will allow consumers to understand the true value of the data they are providing to the platforms, which will encourage competition and allow antitrust enforcers to identify potentially anticompetitive practices” he added.

The legislation, entitled "Designing Accounting Safeguards to Help Broaden Oversight And Regulations on Data Act" (DASHBOARD), will require the companies mining and collecting the data to tell consumers as well as financial regulators what is being gathered and how it is being used, according to the statement, which also listed the following requirements if the legislation becomes law.


  • Require commercial data operators (defined as services with over 100 million monthly active users) to disclose types of data collected as well as regularly provide their users with an assessment of the value of that data.
  • Require commercial data operators to file an annual report on the aggregate value of user data they’ve collected, as well as contracts with third parties involving data collection.
  • Require commercial data operators to allow users to delete all, or individual fields, of data collected – and disclose to users all the ways in which their data is being used. including any uses not directly related to the online service for which the data was originally collected.
  • Empower the SEC to develop methodologies for calculating data value, while encouraging the agency to facilitate flexibility to enable businesses to adopt methodologies that reflect the different uses, sectors, and business models.