Text: S.2125 — 116th Congress (2019-2020)All Information (Except Text)

There is one version of the bill.

Text available as:

Shown Here:
Introduced in Senate (07/16/2019)

 
[Congressional Bills 116th Congress]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office]
[S. 2125 Introduced in Senate (IS)]

<DOC>






116th CONGRESS
  1st Session
                                S. 2125

 To protect the right of the American public under the First Amendment 
     to the Constitution of the United States to receive news and 
 information from disparate sources by regulating the use of automated 
 software programs intended to impersonate or replicate human activity 
                            on social media.


_______________________________________________________________________


                   IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

                             July 16, 2019

Mrs. Feinstein introduced the following bill; which was read twice and 
   referred to the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation

_______________________________________________________________________

                                 A BILL


 
 To protect the right of the American public under the First Amendment 
     to the Constitution of the United States to receive news and 
 information from disparate sources by regulating the use of automated 
 software programs intended to impersonate or replicate human activity 
                            on social media.

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the 
United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

    This Act may be cited as the ``Bot Disclosure and Accountability 
Act of 2019''.

SEC. 2. FINDINGS.

    Congress finds the following:
            (1) According to the Pew Research Center, in 2005, only 5 
        percent of adults in the United States used online social 
        media, but by 2018, 69 percent of adults in the United States 
        reported using some type of social media, including 88 percent 
        of adults under the age of 29, and 67 percent of adults in the 
        United States reportedly obtained some of their news from 
        social media, including 78 percent of adults under the age of 
        50.
            (2) In 2016, a study titled ``Social bots distort the 2016 
        U.S. Presidential election online discussion'' found that, 
        during the 2016 United States presidential election, 
        approximately 400,000, or 15 percent, of the users of the 
        social media website Twitter who discussed the election were 
        social media bots. Those bots produced 3,800,000 tweets, which 
        accounted for 19 percent of all tweets regarding the election.
            (3) In 2017, a report published by researchers from the 
        University of Oxford and the University of Pennsylvania titled 
        ``Computational Propaganda in the United States: Manufacturing 
        Consensus Online'' noted that, ``According to many of the 
        people interviewed for the report, including political bot 
        makers and campaign personnel, the goals of bot-driven tactics 
        are manifold: to create a bandwagon effect, to build fake 
        social media trends by automatically spreading hashtags, and 
        even to suppress the opinions of the opposition.''.
            (4) In testimony before the Committee on the Judiciary of 
        the Senate, representatives from Twitter reported that, of the 
        2,752 Twitter accounts associated with the Russian intelligence 
        unit known as the ``Internet Research Agency'', more than 47 
        percent were social media bots.
            (5) In 2017, the Oxford Internet Institute found that 
        Russian government social media bots were used to manipulate 
        highly targeted and consequential segments of the electorate of 
        the United States. Researchers found that, of all tweets 
        related to the 2016 United States presidential election, 
        Russian propaganda constituted--
                    (A) 40 percent of such tweets directed to 
                Pennsylvania residents;
                    (B) 34 percent of such tweets directed to Michigan 
                residents;
                    (C) 30 percent of such tweets directed to Wisconsin 
                residents;
                    (D) 41 percent of such tweets directed to Florida 
                residents;
                    (E) 40 percent of such tweets directed to North 
                Carolina residents; and
                    (F) 35 percent of such tweets directed to Ohio 
                residents.
            (6) In Associated Press v. United States, 326 U.S. 1 
        (1945), the Supreme Court found, ``It would be strange indeed, 
        however, if the grave concern for freedom of the press which 
        prompted adoption of the First Amendment should be read as a 
        command that the government was without power to protect that 
        freedom.''.

SEC. 3. SENSE OF CONGRESS.

    It is the sense of Congress that the United States Government has a 
compelling interest in--
            (1) mitigating the deceptiveness of social media bots, 
        which impersonate human activity online, through public 
        disclosure requirements that impose a minimal burden on rights 
        protected under the First Amendment to the Constitution of the 
        United States;
            (2) regulating the use of social media bots in political 
        advertising, which is intended to deceive voters and suppress 
        human speech, in a manner that does not--
                    (A) distinguish between political messages based 
                on--
                            (i) content; or
                            (ii) the nature of the person producing a 
                        message; or
                    (B) impose any aggregate limit on political speech; 
                and
            (3) mitigating the effectiveness of efforts by foreign 
        entities to influence United States elections through the use 
        of social media bots to spread misinformation and propaganda.

SEC. 4. PUBLIC DISCLOSURE OF SOFTWARE PROGRAMS INTENDED TO IMPERSONATE 
              OR REPLICATE HUMAN ACTIVITY.

    (a) Definitions.--
            (1) In general.--In this section--
                    (A) the term ``automated software program or 
                process intended to impersonate or replicate human 
                activity online'' has the meaning given the term by the 
                Commission by regulation under paragraph (2);
                    (B) the term ``Commission'' means the Federal Trade 
                Commission;
                    (C) the term ``social media provider'' means any 
                person that owns or operates a social media website; 
                and
                    (D) the term ``social media website'' means any 
                tool, website, application, or other media that 
                connects users on the internet for the purpose of 
                engaging in dialogue, sharing information, 
                collaborating, and interacting.
            (2) Definition by regulation.--Not later than 1 year after 
        the date of enactment of this Act, the Commission shall 
        promulgate regulations under section 553 of title 5, United 
        States Code, to define the term ``automated software program or 
        process intended to impersonate or replicate human activity 
        online'' broadly enough so that the definition is not limited 
        to current technology.
    (b) Regulations.--Not later than 1 year after the date of enactment 
of this Act, the Commission shall promulgate regulations under section 
553 of title 5, United States Code, to require a social media provider 
to establish and implement policies and procedures to require a user of 
a social media website owned or operated by the social media provider 
to publically disclose the use of any automated software program or 
process intended to impersonate or replicate human activity online on 
the social media website.
    (c) Requirements.--In promulgating regulations under subsection 
(b), the Commission shall require a social media provider to establish 
and implement, for each social media website owned or operated by the 
social media provider--
            (1) a policy that requires any user of the social media 
        website that employs an automated software program or process 
        intended to impersonate or replicate human activity online on 
        the social media website to provide clear and conspicuous 
        notice of the automated program in clear and plain language to 
        any other person or user of the social media website who may be 
        exposed to activities conducted by the automated program;
            (2) a process that allows a user of the social media 
        website to provide clear and conspicuous notice to any other 
        person or user as required under paragraph (1);
            (3) a process to identify, assess, and verify whether the 
        activity of any user of the social media website is conducted 
        by an automated software program or process intended to 
        impersonate or replicate human activity online;
            (4) a process by which the social media provider will take 
        reasonable preventative and corrective action to mitigate 
        efforts by a user to use an automated software program or 
        process intended to impersonate or replicate human activity 
        online without disclosure as required under paragraph (1), 
        which may include suspension or any other action authorized by 
        the Commission;
            (5) a process by which the social media provider will 
        remove posts, images, or any other online activity of a user or 
        profile making use of an automated software program or process 
        intended to impersonate or replicate human activity online that 
        is not in compliance with the policy under paragraph (1); and
            (6) a process that allows a human user of the social media 
        website the opportunity to demonstrate that the online activity 
        of the user is in compliance with the policy required under 
        paragraph (1) prior to, or immediately following, any 
        mitigation activity described in paragraph (4) or (5).
    (d) Rule of Construction.--Nothing in this section shall be 
construed to require any social media provider to permit an automated 
software program or process intended to impersonate or replicate human 
activity online on a social media website owned or operated by the 
social media provider.
    (e) Enforcement.--
            (1) Unfair or deceptive acts or practices.--A violation of 
        a regulation promulgated under subsection (b) shall be treated 
        as a violation of a rule defining an unfair or deceptive act or 
        practice prescribed under section 18(a)(1)(B) of the Federal 
        Trade Commission Act (15 U.S.C. 57a(a)(1)(B)).
            (2) Powers of commission.--
                    (A) In general.--Except as provided in subparagraph 
                (C), the Commission shall enforce this section in the 
                same manner, by the same means, and with the same 
                jurisdiction, powers, and duties as though all 
                applicable terms and provisions of the Federal Trade 
                Commission Act (15 U.S.C. 41 et seq.) were incorporated 
                into and made a part of this section.
                    (B) Privileges and immunities.--Except as provided 
                in subparagraph (C), any person who violates subsection 
                (b) shall be subject to the penalties and entitled to 
                the privileges and immunities provided in the Federal 
                Trade Commission Act (15 U.S.C. 41 et seq.).
                    (C) Common carriers and nonprofit organizations.--
                Notwithstanding section 4, 5(a)(2), or 6 of the Federal 
                Trade Commission Act (15 U.S.C. 44, 45(a)(2), 46) or 
                any jurisdictional limitation of the Commission, the 
                Commission shall also enforce this section, in the same 
                manner provided in subparagraphs (A) and (B) of this 
                paragraph, with respect to--
                            (i) common carriers subject to the 
                        Communications Act of 1934 (47 U.S.C. 151 et 
                        seq.) and Acts amendatory thereof and 
                        supplementary thereto; and
                            (ii) organizations not organized to carry 
                        on business for their own profit or that of 
                        their members.
                    (D) Authority preserved.--Nothing in this section 
                shall be construed to limit the authority of the 
                Commission under any other provision of law.

SEC. 5. PROHIBITION ON AUTOMATED SOFTWARE PROGRAMS INTENDED TO 
              IMPERSONATE OR REPLICATE HUMAN ACTIVITY FOR ONLINE 
              POLITICAL ADVERTISING.

    Title III of the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 (52 U.S.C. 
30101 et seq.) is amended by adding at the end the following new 
section:

``SEC. 325. PROHIBITION ON THE USE OF CERTAIN AUTOMATED SOFTWARE 
              PROGRAMS FOR POLITICAL ADVERTISING.

    ``(a) Prohibition.--
            ``(1) Candidates and political parties.--No candidate 
        (including any authorized committee of a candidate) or 
        political party may--
                    ``(A) 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; or
                    ``(B) solicit, accept, purchase or sell any 
                automated software programs or processes intended to 
                impersonate or replicate human activity online for any 
                purpose.
            ``(2) Political committees, corporations, and labor 
        organizations.--No political committee, corporation, or labor 
        organization (as defined in section 316(b)) may--
                    ``(A) 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--
                            ``(i) any message that expressly advocates 
                        for the election or defeat of a candidate; or
                            ``(ii) or any communication which would be 
                        an electioneering communication as defined in 
                        section 304(f)(3) if such section were 
                        applied--
                                    ``(I) by taking into account 
                                communications made over the Internet;
                                    ``(II) without regard to 
                                subparagraph (A)(i)(III) thereof with 
                                respect to communications described in 
                                subclause (I); and
                                    ``(III) by treating the facilities 
                                of any online or digital newspaper, 
                                magazine, blog, publication, or 
                                periodical in the same manner the 
                                facilities of a broadcasting station 
                                for purposes of subparagraph (B)(i); or
                    ``(B) solicit, accept, purchase or sell any 
                automated software programs or processes intended to 
                impersonate or replicate human activity online for any 
                purpose described in subparagraph (A).
    ``(b) Exception.--The prohibition in subsection (a) shall not apply 
to any internal or administrative systems that are not oriented or 
accessible to the public.
    ``(c) Definition.--For purposes of this section, the term 
`automated software program or process intended to impersonate or 
replicate human activity online' has the meaning given such term under 
section 4 of the Bot Disclosure and Accountability Act of 2019.''.
                                 <all>

Share This