Press Release

Hertzberg Moves Bot Bill Forward in California Assembly

Author of SB 1001 accepts some changes in order to get important measure over first Assembly hurdle

June 20, 2018

SACRAMENTO – Senator Bob Hertzberg, D-Van Nuys, today announced that SB 1001, also known as the “B.O.T. Act of 2018” (“Bolstering Online Transparency”), cleared its first Assembly Committee yesterday.

In Tuesday’s Assembly Privacy Committee hearing, Sen. Hertzberg accepted several amendments to the bill, stating that though the amendments weaken some of the bill’s provisions, he is committed to ensuring the Legislature addresses the critical issue of the spread of bots this legislative session.

Since the bill’s introduction in February, the prevalence of bots, and their ability to spread inflammatory or false information to mislead people, has become even better documented. In April, Pew Research Center reported that two-thirds (66%) of all tweeted links were shared by suspected bots. Further, after both the Parkland and Santa Fe shootings, hundreds of automated accounts posted inflammatory pro- and anti-gun control messages, manipulating the social media debate to divide and anger people.

“Regardless of what we do here today, the urgency remains,” said Senator Hertzberg. “Armies of bots are out there right now, manipulating real people. We need to at least begin to address this problem of today, before we look back and realize it’s too late.”

While some reporting requirements were removed in this version of the bill, the core purpose of SB 1001 remains: to increase social media transparency by requiring bots to be clearly identified on social media sites.

The updated bill text will soon be available here.

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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