US senators introduce social media privacy bill

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, left, speaks to US Senator John Kennedy ahead of an April 10 hearing on privacy concerns about the leading social network

Two US senators, one Democrat and one Republican, introduced legislation Tuesday aimed at better protecting online privacy in response to the Facebook data scandal.

The proposal comes following hearings in Congress on the hijacking of private data on tens of millions of Facebook users by a consulting firm working on Donald Trump's 2016 campaign.

The "Social Media Privacy and Consumer Rights Act" introduced by Republican Senator John Kennedy and Democrat Amy Klobuchar would require terms of service agreements to be in plain language, and enable users to see what information about them has already been collected and shared.

It would also allow consumers the right to opt out and keep their information private by disabling data tracking and collection, and mandate that users be notified of a privacy violation within 72 hours.

"I don't want to hurt Facebook, and I don't want to regulate them half to death, either," Kennedy said in a statement.

"But I have a job to do, and that's protecting the rights and privacy of our citizens."

Klobuchar said: "Consumers should have the right to control their personal data and that means allowing them to opt out of having their data collected and tracked... The digital space can’t keep operating like the Wild West at the expense of our privacy."

Facebook announced last week it would begin rolling out changes to how it handles private data to comply with forthcoming EU rules, with European residents seeing the measures first.