June 25, 2018

Feinstein Bill Would Regulate Social Media Bots Designed to Influence U.S. Elections

Washington—Senate Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) today introduced the Bot Disclosure and Accountability Act, a bill to regulate the use of social media bots intended to influence U.S. elections.

            “This bill is designed to help respond to Russia’s efforts to interfere in U.S. elections through the use of social media bots, which spread divisive propaganda,” Feinstein said. “This bill would require social media companies to disclose all bots that operate on their platforms and prohibit U.S. political campaigns from using fake social media bots for political advertising. The bill mirrors several bills that have been introduced at the state level, including one in California.”

            “Voters must be able to make informed judgments about the information they receive,” Feinstein added, “and that includes knowing the origin and motives behind these pervasive and fake online personas.”

            The bill would do the following:

  • Direct the FTC to create a rule to require social media companies to disclose any social media bots on their platform. This will allow the public to know if a social media user is just a computer program replicating messages.
  • Prohibit candidates and political parties from using bots.
  • Limit political action committees, corporations and labor unions from using bots in certain political advertising.
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