California Gov. Jerry Brown drew plenty of headlines on Sunday when he signed the state’s net neutrality bill into a law, a move that was immediately met with a lawsuit from the Department of Justice.
On Friday, he signed another bill that drew less attention — a new law that bans automated accounts, more commonly known as bots, from pretending to be real people in pursuit of selling products or influencing elections. Automated accounts can still interact with Californians, according to the law, but they will need to disclose that they are bots.The law comes as concerns about social media manipulation remain elevated. With just more than a month to go before the 2018 U.S. midterm elections, social media companies have pledged to crack down on foreign interference.
A big part of that effort has been targeting bots that spread misinformation and divisive political rhetoric. Twitter said it took down 9.9 million “potentially spammy or automated accounts per week” in May and has placed warnings on suspicious accounts. Dorsey has even publicly floated the idea that Twitter may try to identify bots and label them as such.