Business and Professions Code Division 7, Part 3, Chapter 6 regulates “bots.” Chapter 6 was added in 2018 by Chapter 892. B&P Code Section 17940 defines the terms “bot,” “online,” “online platform,” and “person.”
Section 17941 makes it unlawful for any person to use a bot to communicate or interact with another person in California online, with the intent to mislead the other person about its artificial identity for the purpose of knowingly deceiving the person about the content of the communication in order to incentivize a purchase or sale of goods or services in a commercial transaction or to influence a vote in an election.
However, a person using a bot cannot be held liable under this law if the person discloses that it is a bot. The disclosure required must be clear, conspicuous, and reasonably designed to inform persons with whom the bot communicates or interacts that it is a bot.
Section 17942 specifies that the duties and obligations imposed by this chapter are cumulative with any other duties or obligation imposed by any other law. Also, this law does not impose a duty on service providers of online platforms including, but not limited to, Web hosting and Internet service providers.
Section 17943 provides that Chapter 6 became operative on July 1, 2019.
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