Real Estate

FCC To Crack Down On Artificial Intelligence-Generated Robocalls

The FCC announced on Tuesday a plan to help consumers identify and block AI-generated robocalls. The plan, if passed, could impact a key part of real estate agents’ lead generation methods.

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The Federal Communications Commission has plans to tighten the reigns on artificial intelligence-generated robocalls.

Jessica Rosenworcel | Credit: FCC

FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel announced her plan on Tuesday, requiring callers to disclose the AI-generated robocalls when obtaining prior express consent from consumers. Even with prior express consent, callers would be required to make another disclosure on every AI-generated call they make, a measure Rosenworcel said would help consumers “identify and avoid” calls that “contain an enhanced risk of fraud and other scams.”

The plan also calls for creating tech that helps consumers identify and block unwanted AI-generated calls and protecting “positive uses” of AI-generated calls for consumers with disabilities.

Rosenworcel said her proposal builds on several recent actions the FCC has taken to regulate robocalls, including the passage of a declaratory ruling that said voice cloning technology is illegal and a $6 million fine levied against a New Hampshire man who made voice-cloned robocalls to sway 2024 primary voting.

The plan will undergo a three-part voting process, starting at the FCC’s August Open Meeting. If commission members approve it, it will face public comment and a final vote before implementation.

Although the plan doesn’t mention any specific industry, it addresses a critical component of many real estate agents’ lead generation plans and emerging tech that uses AI to automate cold calls.

Last year, Texas-based franchisor Keller Williams settled a $40 million class action lawsuit for unsolicited, pre-recorded telemarketing calls its agents made to consumers without their consent. The lawsuit leaned on the 1991 Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), which Rosenworcel cited multiple times in her announcement on Tuesday.

“Bad actors are already using AI technology in robocalls to mislead consumers and misinform the public,” she said in a written statement. “That’s why we want to put in place rules that empower consumers to avoid this junk and make informed decisions.”

Katie Lance

In an email to Inman, marketing expert Katie Lance said Rosenworcel’s proposal is a “significant development” that agents and brokers shouldn’t ignore.

“For agents who rely on AI to streamline their marketing tasks, this move underscores the importance of ethical and compliant AI usage,” she said. “AI has revolutionized our industry by enabling more personalized and efficient communication with clients; however, it’s crucial for agents to understand the boundaries of these tools to ensure they are not infringing on consumer privacy or regulatory standards.”

Lance said AI must be used responsibly, and this is the time for agents to review what AI tools they’re using and adjust how they’re using them.

“For agents, this means being vigilant about the sources and methods of their AI tools, ensuring they comply with all relevant regulations, and focusing on building genuine connections with clients,” she said. “AI should augment our efforts, not replace the personal touch that is so vital in real estate.”

Email Marian McPherson

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