Press Release

Hertzberg’s Bot Bill Passes Senate Floor

Bill to require bot labeling clears major hurdle

May 30, 2018

SACRAMENTO – Senator Bob Hertzberg, D-Van Nuys, announced today that SB 1001, a bill he authored with the support of Common Sense Kids Action to require social media companies to label automated accounts on their sites, passed the Senate Floor and is now headed to the Assembly.

In the fall of 2016, news outlets began reporting a growth in the number of bots posting messages related to the major U.S. presidential candidates. In February 2018, hundreds of bots were recorded posting inflammatory pro- and anti-gun control messages within hours of the Parkland shooting, and again after the Santa Fe High School shooting, in an effort to spread misinformation.

SB 1001, also known as the “B.O.T. Act of 2018” (“Bolstering Online Transparency”), would increase social media transparency by requiring automated accounts – or bots – to be clearly identified on social media sites to protect Internet users from the spread of false information.

“Bots masquerade as individuals and are being weaponized to spread fake and misleading news, lend false credibility to people and ideas, and reshape political debates,” said Senator Hertzberg. “This legislation aims to shed light on those fake accounts.”

In an effort to highlight the issue, Sen. Hertzberg created a bot, @Bot_Hertzberg. The Twitter account is a self-identified automated account that offers up automated posts to demonstrate that bots, when properly identified, can exist positively in the social media ecosystem.

Media Contact: Katie Hanzlik
Katie.Hanzlik@sen.ca.gov
Press Secretary
Senator Robert M. Hertzberg
Capitol Building, Room 4038
(916) 651-4018

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