- Is Trump defiling the U.S. flag in this MAGA dude’s artwork? Sunday 4:41 PM
- White woman claims she invented sleep bonnets, selling them for $100 Sunday 4:03 PM
- Even real cats are transfixed by the enigma that is the ‘Cats’ trailer Sunday 3:04 PM
- Wait, how tall is Peppa Pig? Sunday 1:55 PM
- Twitter suspends Iranian state media outlets for harassing members of a religious minority Sunday 1:06 PM
- Pro-MAGA pageant queen stripped of title over ‘offensive’ tweets Sunday 11:52 AM
- Marvel unveiled its Phase 4 plans at San Diego Comic-Con Sunday 9:16 AM
- How a queer Instagram is helping fight the opioid epidemic in Appalachia Sunday 6:30 AM
- Philadelphia to fire 13 officers for racist, violent Facebook posts Saturday 6:12 PM
- Nick Offerman is so down to play every single role in ‘Cats’ Saturday 4:27 PM
- Woman documents how airport staff broke her wheelchair Saturday 3:04 PM
- Funeral home allegedly posted photos of woman’s dead body on social media Saturday 1:56 PM
- Alinity Divine is being investigated after throwing her cat during stream (updated) Saturday 12:04 PM
- ‘Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee’ returns with Seinfeld making a racist joke about China Saturday 10:26 AM
- YouTubers Eugenia Cooney and Shane Dawson make a joint comeback Saturday 9:06 AM
Pixabay (Public Domain)
Just don’t expect it to hinder those Russian bots any time soon.
A new law went into effect in California this week that regulates the use of online bots.
Those utilizing such computer programs will be required to disclose when a bot is being used under certain circumstances. The law applies specifically to bots that either advertise commercial goods and services or attempt to influence a vote in an election.
Those in violation of the law could face fines and open themselves up to lawsuits related to state statutes concerning unfair competition.
The law’s author, Senator Robert Hertzberg (D-Ca.), explained to The New Yorker his reasoning for taking on the issue.
“It’s literally taking these high-end technological concepts and bringing them home to basic common-law principles,” Hertzberg said. “You can’t defraud people. You can’t lie. You can’t cheat them economically. You can’t cheat ’em in elections.”
Early drafts of the legislation demanded that all bots regardless of purpose be subject to disclosure, while any creator unwilling to cooperate would have their bot taken down by whatever platform they were hosted on. Those provisions were eventually dropped after digital-rights groups such as the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) pushed back over fears that the law was encroaching on protected speech.
The bot disclosure law also exempts “any public-facing Internet Web site, Web application, or digital application, including a social network or publication, that has 10,000,000 or more unique monthly United States visitors or users for a majority of months during the preceding 12 months.”
The law comes as concerns grow over the use of bots both by domestic and foreign actors to inflate certain political viewpoints online. But given the law’s exemptions and minor scope, it is unlikely to have any effect on the spread of automated propaganda on the world’s largest websites.
- The Trump 2020 bot campaign has begun
- How many of Trump’s ‘firefighter’ fans are actually Twitter bots in disguise?
- Report: 5,000 Twitter bots pushed ‘Russiagate hoax’ after Mueller report
Got five minutes? We’d love to hear from you. Help shape our journalism and be entered to win an Amazon gift card by filling out our 2019 reader survey.
H/T The New Yorker
Mikael Thalen is a tech and security reporter based in Seattle, covering social media, data breaches, hackers, and more.