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Facebook should have to pay a fine if it can’t get rid of bots, Democratic senator says

Recode logo Recode 2/25/2018 Eric Johnson

a man standing in front of a stage © Paul Morigi / Getty Images for Fortune

Paul Morigi / Getty Images for Fortune

Sen. Amy Klobuchar sounded off on social media and bots on “Meet the Press.”

Bots on Facebook are like “toxic waste” being dumped into the environment, Sen. Amy Klobuchar says, and the platforms should be fined if they can’t clean it up.

Appearing on NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday, the senior U.S. senator from Minnesota said Congress should act if Facebook and Twitter can’t clean up the bot pollution. She alleged that there are “tens of millions” of bots flooding the social web with vitriol.

“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.”

“Meet the Press” moderator Chuck Todd asked if the social media giants should be fined if they can’t purge themselves of bots that the government has discovered.

“I think that would be a great idea,” Klobuchar said. “But then you need a Congress to act. There are too many people that are afraid of doing something about this because we know these sites are popular.”

Klobuchar is one of the co-authors of a bipartisan bill, the Honest Ads Act, that would regulate political ads on Facebook, Google and Twitter, but that bill does not address bots.

Watch the full video of Klobuchar’s appearance on “Meet the Press” below:

And — obligatory plug — son’t miss Kara Swisher’s recent interview with Todd on her podcast, Recode Decode.

Disclosure: NBCUniversal is an investor in Recode’s parent company, Vox Media.

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