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CR Opposes California “Bot” Labeling Bill

Consumer Reports sincerely appreciates the California Legislature’s foresight in developing a bill to address the emerging threat posed by “bots.” Over the past year, more and more information has come to light about how fraudsters and trolls use technology to artificially amplify posts over social media, spreading harmful misinformation. This bill, which aims to require their programmers to label bots when used for commercial advertising or to influence voters, has the potential to be quite helpful. Unfortunately, many if not most malicious bot accounts still involve significant human interaction. As written, this bill would not do enough to rein them in. Given the good intentions for this bill, the legislature should delay passage of this bill and work to improve it in the next session.