European Parliament backs initiative to curb digital platform addiction

Led by Green MEP Kim van Sparrentak, the initiative aims to regulate features like endless scrolling and autoplay, seeking legislative attention after the June European elections.

EU flags in front of European Commission

The European Parliament garnered strong support, with 545 votes in favor, for a resolution targeting the addictive nature of digital platforms. The initiative, focusing on ‘Addictive design of online services,’ aims to regulate features like endless scrolling and autoplay. It seeks to bring the issue to the forefront of the legislative agenda after the upcoming European elections in June.

Led by Green MEP Kim van Sparrentak, the resolution emphasizes the absence of specific regulations for digital addiction and urges the Commission to assess existing legislation to tackle the issue.

The EU executive’s ongoing ‘fitness check’ of consumer law, evaluating the need for updates, focuses on the addictive use of digital services and is expected to contribute to a Digital Fairness Act. The move positions the EU as a global pioneer in addressing the addictive design of apps and smartphones.

Why does it matter?

This appears to be a tangible first step in addressing an issue some studies have highlighted. Excessive smartphone and internet use are linked to various mental health issues, especially among young people aged 16-24. In the United States, this matter is part of a lawsuit against Meta, claiming that the company intentionally designed its platforms to addict children and knowingly allowed underage users to have accounts.