Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D., Minn.) said Sunday it would be a "great idea" to fine social media companies that fail to purge themselves of bots.
That idea was raised by "Meet The Press" host Chuck Todd after Klobuchar said social media companies have to stop bots from dominating their platforms, even if it means less ad revenue. The issue of "bots" has come to the forefront amid the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, which included extensive social media trolling with fake accounts attacking Hillary Clinton.
Klobuchar wondered how to make the problem be taken more seriously and floated the idea of congressional hearings.
"Should they be fined?" Todd asked. "In a superfund disaster, should Facebook and Twitter face fines if they fail to purge themselves of bots, for instance, after the government finds out?"
"I think that would be a great idea," Klobuchar said. "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."
Klobuchar said lawmakers are afraid to do anything about the issue because social media is popular and specifically pointed out sharing recipes and cat videos.
"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.
She said that bots are literally committing crimes when they tell people they can text in and vote, and while some activity is hard to regualate, ad funding shouldn't be.
"The Russians spent a lot of money on paid ads, that's much simpler to regulate, Chuck. You know why? TV, your station right now has rules in place, so does radio and print. They have political ads and have to disclose them," Klobuchar said.