Related report for ACUS: Mass, Computer-Generated, and Fraudulent Comments
When the Federal Communication Commission asked the public what it thought about its net neutrality rules in 2017, the comments flooded in—including millions submitted under fake names by bot-comment-generators. These missives added no value and raised concerns that people’s identities were being stolen. Now everyone from Congressional Republicans to the New York State Attorney General have their sights set on shutting down the bots. But anxiety about the risks of computer-generated comments might go too far. We don’t want to allow overblown fears to squelch the development of future killer apps that could improve public participation in regulatory decision making.