Without a doubt there are bots (illegal ones) that exist on Facebook and Twitter. For the most part these bots appear to be spammy where they try to post ads and links to malicious websites, and it probably doesn’t take a genius to sniff one out. While Facebook and Twitter have policies in place to deal with bots, a new bill proposed in California could soon make it a legal requirement.

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In a report from Bloomberg, it seems that the state of California has proposed a new bill that will require platforms such as Facebook and Twitter to disclose and identify bots on their network. This isn’t so much to deal with spam, but rather to deal with the issue of propaganda and how fake news is being spread. The report cites an example of how bots were used to post on topics such as gun-debate, or how they are used to artificially inflate a tweet’s popularity by sharing them many times.

According to Democratic State Senator Bob Hertzberg, who introduced the bill, “We need to know if we are having debates with real people or if we’re being manipulated. Right now we have no law and it’s just the Wild West.” With the proposed bill, it would make it illegal for bots to interact with a human with “the intention of misleading and without clearly and conspicuously disclosing that the bot is not a natural person.”

It will also require social media platforms to let users report violations, respond to reports, and provide bimonthly details of these violations to the state’s Attorney General. Whether or not the bill will be passed and become law remains to be seen.

Filed in General. Read more about Facebook, Legal and Twitter.

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