Rep DeSaulnier Announces Legislation to Study the Influence of Social Media Bots on American Elections

Press Release

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Washington, DC – Today, on the eve of the midterm election, Congressman Mark DeSaulnier (CA-11) announced the Bots Research Act, which would establish a new task force at the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to determine the impact of automated social media accounts, often referred to as “bots,” on public discourse and elections.

“Bot accounts can disseminate false information to alter public opinion with superhuman speed. There is clear evidence that bad actors used bots during the 2016 election with the sole purpose of destabilizing public discourse and undermining our elections,” said Congressman DeSaulnier.

Estimates suggest that roughly 48 million active users on Twitter are bots, and in November 2017, Facebook testified that upwards of 60 million automated accounts have been deployed on its platform. In the months since, Twitter has notified 1.4 million Americans that they interacted with or promoted Russian-linked activities during the 2016 Presidential election.

“Despite bots’ dangers, there is still widespread disagreement on how best to regulate these accounts. Before we can effectively police this realm, we need experts to come to the table and create guidelines that protect both cybersecurity and First Amendment rights, and that can keep pace with an ever-changing innovation sector. Without this key piece of the process, we cannot safeguard our democracy,” DeSaulnier concluded.

The task force—comprised of government, academic, and industry experts—will define what qualifies as a “bot,” identify how broadly these accounts are used, and recommend how best to combat their negative effects. The task force will report its findings to Congress and other relevant federal agencies to help inform future legislative action.

In February, Congressman DeSaulnier called on the Oversight and Government Reform Committee to convene a hearing on the sale, abuse, and possible influence social media bots could have had on the 2016 Presidential election.


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11 COMMENTS

  1. Hey Mark, the first place your legislation should investigate is the lying, manipulative, enemy of the people, main stream media which YOU and other DemoRats are complicit with causing the current divisiveness in our Nation.

    It’s okay to disagree with an elected politicians position on any issue but when you make it your mission to “resist” policies that improve our lives anything you lunatics say won’t be taken seriously.

    California has become a 💩 State thanks to you Democratic morons in Sacramento.

    • Uh oh, a trump bot here. The only people dumb enough to believe that orange lunatic in the White House are racists, fascists, and the super-wealthy. If you think some draft-dodging coward raised with a silver spoon up his rear cares about you, you’re sadly mistaken and you’ll just have to pass with your depressive ideals.

    • “Policies that improve our lives”… that’s comical. Trumps policies only benefit the rich and certain corporate sectors. Unfortunately people like you are so blinded by their prejudism you hold onto and attach it faithfully to your demagogue, thinking they’re a savior and someone you can identify with. Sorry dude, but our orange president doesn’t care about you or this country. He’s doing what’s best for him and his, it’s nothing new. He’s being so divisive, even his own cabinet have rejected him in troves and don’t even get me started on all the indictments. Even when they quote him word for word it’s “fake news” to you guys. You’re brainwashed and don’t even know it.

      • Stop smoking that joint Dimitri because your not making any sense!

        I guess you enjoy paying high gas prices, higher taxes, high unemployment, a weak military, you hate law enforcement, and you believe everything should be FREE!!! Do yourself a favor and return all that money your 401K has earned (if you have one) and even better, go to our southern border and pickup a truck load of individuals heading our way in the caravan and bring them home with you.

        Come on Dimitri, put up or shut up!

        • *You’re not your. It’s funny how you White-centrist guys talk bad about taxes yet the Scandinavian countries pay high taxes but have a better standard of living than us. We’ll never have a weak military, just because you’re insecure of what’s in your pants. I don’t hate law enforcement, keeping public workers accountable isn’t hating them. But yea be a hypocrite, you’re cool with white immigrants but if they’re brown you hate them.

          It’s funny how you bag on people with their entitlements but are down with Trump being the cliché entitled rich brat. You wish you were as rich and powerful as him. Could be openly prejudice like him and have a fake (immigrant) Barbie of a wife.

          Gary Gilbert you’re a coward and ran from your problems in Antioch. Looks like your actions didn’t put up, and you shut up.

          • That’s really funny Dimitri, just like other unintelligent hate mongers when you have no defense for your position you turn to race baiting. I love it!!!! 🤣🤣🤣🤣

          • BTW Dimitri, since it’s obvious you spend your time fixated and fantasizing about the size of what other men have in their pants, you have some serious mental health issues that need to be addressed by a licensed psychologist.

            Good luck with that !

        • Holy crap GG really brought up the caravan lol. Hey man, Orson Welle’s “War of the Worlds” was 80 years ago this week. Looks like fear mongering is still alive and well. I’m sure if Trump said not to vaccinate, the earth is flat, you’d believe him ASAP. Lol

          • Yes Jerry, I brought up the caravan. Any individual of any background who wants to enter our Nation should apply, go through a background check, and wait their turn like anyone else.

            Anyone who disagrees doesn’t practice common sense

  2. I agree with GG. We’ve been lied to by the media for years. All the indictments from the “FBI” are all fake. Even the industries hurting by his new policies I know are just fake news because trump said so. Hell, even our doctors lie to us, that’s why I don’t vaccinate or take my kids to the doctor. Trump has given me a voice where I know I’m not wrong for hating other races or cultures. I just want my country to stay as our forefathers wanted it- to be pure and white even if he’s orange. Nothing wrong with that. Even though his a millionaire businessman from Manhattan, I feel he really understands me as a lower-middle class man from Arizona. You know, cuz we’re white.

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