Officials say at least 20 Texas government entities targeted in cyber attack
Feinstein introduces bill to prohibit campaigns from using social media bots
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) on Tuesday introduced a bill to prohibit candidates, campaigns and political organizations from using social media bots, arguing the measure is necessary to clamp down on deceptive political advertising online.
The Bot Disclosure and Accountability Act intends to mitigate "the deceptiveness of social media bots, which impersonate human activity online" and the "effectiveness of efforts by foreign entities to influence United States elections."
The measure aims to regulate "the use of social media bots in political advertising, which is intended to deceive voters and suppress human speech," the legislation states.
"We know Russia used social media to influence the 2016 election, particularly the deployment of bots that provide content to fake accounts," Feinstein said in a statement.
"These bots were used for one purpose: to deceive voters. This bill prohibits bots from being used in any effort that seeks to subvert future elections," she added.
The bill states that no candidate or political organization may "use or cause to be used any automated software programs or processes intended to impersonate or replicate human activity online to make, amplify, share, or otherwise disseminate any public communication."
The legislation would authorize the Federal Trade Commission to enforce social media transparency requirements regulating "the use of automated software programs intended to impersonate or replicate human activity on social media."
Former Special counsel Robert Mueller's report released earlier this year said his team found that "dozens" of political rallies were organized by a Russian troll farm that was later indicted for attempting to interfere with the 2016 U.S. presidential election.
A study released last month found that the troll farm carried out a "a highly professional campaign" that was "incredibly successful at pushing out and amplifying its messages."