Assemblymember Levine Introduces Legislation to Regulate the Use of Bots in Social Media

Monday, January 29, 2018

(Sacramento) – Today, Assemblymember Marc Levine (D-Marin County) introduced AB 1950, legislation requiring social media sites to identify and verify with a disclaimer all bot accounts. The bill will also require that bots are linked to a verified human and that all advertising purchases on social media to be made by verified human accounts.

“From Big Tech to social media startups, it’s clear that self-regulation is failing society and damaging our democracy,” said Assemblymember Marc Levine. “Sensible laws can finally bring accountability for unregulated and misleading use of social media.”

AB 1950 is a response to automated and fake accounts that spread misinformation and engage in abusive online behavior. According to the Digital Forensic Research Lab, bots are automated accounts which can post retweets or likes without any intervention from an actual human. In the political sphere, the Digital Forensic Research lab explains that these bots are usually used to make small groups look like they have a larger following and base of support. By identifying bots, users will be better informed and able to identify whether or not the power of a group’s influence is legitimate. This will mitigate the promulgation of misinformation and influence of unauthentic social media campaigns.