The new bill should prevent bots from influencing elections

Oct 2, 2018 19:30 GMT  ·  By  ·  Comment  · 

California Governor Jerry Brown has signed a new bill designed to prevent automated accounts on online platforms from trying to influence people votes or to sell products while pretending to be real persons, as reported by NBC News.

The bill signed by California's governor will make it illegal for anyone to use bots to interact with California citizens and to try to influence their purchase decisions or voting intentions in elections while hiding their artificial identity.

According to the bill, all websites, web apps or digital applications with more than 10 million unique US visitors monthly or total visitors for at least 12 months are considered online platforms and automatically require automated accounts to disclose themselves.

Furthermore, as stated in the bill, the disclosure statement needs to be as clear as possible and designed in such a way as allow the persons it communicates with to have 100% certainty that it is an automated account.

'It shall be unlawful for any person to use a bot to communicate or interact with another person in California online, with the intent to mislead the other person about its artificial identity for the purpose of knowingly deceiving the person about the content of the communication in order to incentivize a purchase or sale of goods or services in a commercial transaction or to influence a vote in an election," according to the bill signed by Gov. Brown.

The bill Brown just signed comes as a response to concerns about elections being influenced by vast armies of bots swaying the public's vote intentions via social media manipulation tactics.

Gov. Jerry Brown's new bill could help social network users be more aware when bots try to sway their opinions

Both Facebook and Twitter have upped their fight against election interference and have added automated ways of detecting and blocking fake news on their platforms.

Furthermore, Facebook deleted 1.27 billion fake accounts during only six months, while Twitter said that they had to disable between 8.5 and 10 million accounts each week during 2018 because of spam-spreading and automation suspicions.

Seeing that the two largest social networks of the moment have such a bad time dealing with all the automated accounts flooding their platforms, a law designed to help detect such accounts and their users having the certainty of always knowing when a bot is targeting them can only be beneficial to everyone.

Everyone minus the people operating the automated accounts, that is.

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