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California’s new bot law went into effect on July 1, which means it’s now officially illegal to use undeclared bots to incentivize a sale or influence an election. The parameters of the legislation are fairly narrow, targeting bots deployed “with the intent to mislead the other person about its artificial identity for the purpose of knowingly deceiving.”

In other words, it’s more of statement than a law that’s likely to see much enforcement action. But that statement still should be of interest to the social media giants that dominate the California landscape and provide an inadvertent platform for bots.

“Doesn’t it seem like it’s a message to Twitter, to Facebook, to Google: ‘We stopped one step short, we’re at your doorstep. If you want us to knock on the door, then don’t police the bots,’” said Christopher Ballod, partner at Lewis Brisbois.

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Frank Ready

Frank Ready is a reporter on the tech desk at ALM Media. He can be reached at [email protected]

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