Senator: Facebook Should Be Fined If It Can’t Control Bots

Facebook is often criticized for allowing fake content to spread on its pages, but fake accounts are an equally big problem. And one sitting U.S. senator said the social media giant should face fines if it can’t root out the bots.

Sen. Amy Klobuchar appeared on NBC’s “Meet the Press” over the weekend, and said that Congress needs to act if social media companies like Facebook and Twitter can’t clean up their bot problem.

“These are the most sophisticated companies in America,” Klobuchar said. “They have brilliant people working there. They’ve got to put more resources — maybe it means making less profits off of ads and other things — but they’ve got to put the resources into Facebook and Twitter to stop these bots from dominating the accounts.”

Klobuchar is one of the most outspoken critics of Facebook in the Senate; she is the co-author of a bill called the Honest Ads Act that would regulate political ads on Facebook. Still, that bill has a narrow focus that doesn’t address fake accounts spreading hate speech, conspiracy theories and other kinds of divisive content.

What should worry Facebook is that Klobuchar is just the latest in a line of lawmakers to speak out against the company. If the tide of public opinion continues to turn like this, Facebook may have no choice but to actually address its problems.