Op-ed: Andrew Yang’s Plan to Pay You for Your Data Doesn’t Add Up

By Will Rinehart

Jul 16, 2020

Image of a hand holding a cellular phone displaying social media apps

LAST MONTH, FORMER presidential hopeful Andrew Yang launched a new initiative called the Data Dividend Project that would force social media companies to compensate users for the use of their data. As Yang told the Verge, “That first day that people get paid their dividend through DDP for All is going to be such a great day.” But the second day, as platform users and advertisers adjust to the new costs, is sure to be a mess.

Yang isn’t the only one calling for social media users to share in platform revenues. In 2019, California Governor Gavin Newsom also called for creating a digital dividend. “California’s consumers should also be able to share in the wealth that is created from their data,” he said. Two years earlier, in 2017, the Minnesota State Legislature introduced a bill that would force telecom and internet service providers to pay consumers for using their information obtained from the internet. The Senate Banking Committee has also toyed with schemes that would force companies to pay platform users. These efforts are sure to fail for three reasons.

Read the full op-ed at WIRED 

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CGO scholars and fellows frequently comment on a variety of topics for the popular press. The views expressed therein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Center for Growth and Opportunity or the views of Utah State University.