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Sen. Klobuchar: Fining social media for bots is a 'great idea'

Minnesota’s Democratic Sen. Amy Klobuchar said Sunday that she believes tech giants like Facebook should face fines if they fail to get rid of “bots.”

WASHINGTON — Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., said Sunday that she believes tech giants like Facebook and Twitter should face fines if they fail to get rid of “bots” after they are discovered by the government.

“I think that would be a great idea,” she said when asked on Sunday’s “Meet The Press.” “But then you need a Congress to act and there are too many people who are afraid of doing something about this because we know these sites are popular.”

Facebook, Twitter and other social media outlets have been struggling for a response to Russian influence following the 2016 election. American intelligence agencies found that Russians, posing as people or organizations within the U.S., have been using the social media platforms to attempt to interfere with political discourse here. On last week's "Meet The Press," Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., said his staff noticed bots interacting with his presidential candidate Facebook page months after he had exited the race, likely in an effort to promote divisions in the Democratic Party.

Klobuchar is behind a bill in the Senate called the “Honest Ads Act” that’s aimed at ensuring political ads sold online are subject to the same rules and restrictions as advertisements are on TV and radio.

"There’s an ugly side of this. And someone once said that these systems were set up without alarms, without locks, and big surprise, bad guys are coming in and manipulating people," Klobuchar said. "The idea of a fine is like when a company dumps toxic waste, makes a Superfund site, they’re on the hook financially for the damage they cause."