Here's What the Senate Bill Regulating Online Political Ads Looks Like

Facebook What are they really thinking

How to regulate Facebook and the online giants in one word Transparency by The Conversation Published

They said at a news conference Thursday that the legislation would update USA laws so that online political ads had the same protections against foreign interference as traditional ads.

"We have to secure our election systems and we have to do it now - the next election is only 383 days away".

Although Facebook, Twitter and Google didn't seem to take the Russian Federation issue all that seriously past year following the election, they've changed their tune.

McCain is signing on to the legislation drafted by Democratic Sens.

"I've been fighting for free and open and full disclosure for the past 25 years". Twitter, Pinterest, and Google also found Russian-linked political ads or posts.

Representatives of Google, Facebook, and Twitter are expected to testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee next month.

The House committee is working to release the Facebook ads publicly after the hearing.

This bill would close those loopholes by demanding that online and social media companies make and retain copies of all political ads run on their networks, and make them available to the public. John McCain (R-AZ) that would require major social media platforms to label political ads in much the same way they're disclosed on television and radio. Mark Warner of Virginia and Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota.

Warner said that there have been discussions with other lawmakers to co-sponsor the bill, and other members of the Intel Committee are waiting for the November hearing to hear what tech companies have to say about the proposal. Richard Burr of North Carolina, has previously said he hoped the company would send someone with a technology background.

The senators are introducing their bill with an eye toward getting new laws in place ahead of the 2018 midterm elections, warning that Russian Federation is poised to once again seek to meddle in the United States campaign.

It remains unclear how exactly the bill will account for the unique challenges of regulating online ads, versus those broadcast over public airwaves.

"I don't really care what they're called - what I care about is that they are selling ads, they have huge departments of people selling ads [and] they're making money off it, just like TV, just like radio does", she said. "The social media companies were frankly late to the game in acknowledging this problem, but I think they're moving in the right direction". The company's high-profile Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg and Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg will not appear. In that vain, federal lawmakers also seek to ensure that political ads on Facebook, Google and Twitter must have clear and conspicuous disclaimers saying who purchased them. "We have already announced the steps Facebook will take on our own and we look forward to continuing the conversation with lawmakers as we work toward a legislative solution", said Erin Egan, Facebook VP for US Public Policy in a statement to CNET.

One of the key questions is whether accounts would be able to evade any new disclosure requirements, which explains why the senators lowered the $10,000 ad disclosure threshold to $500. For 99% of the ads, less than $1,000 was spent. The ads appear to have come from a Russian entity known as the Internet Research Agency, according to Facebook. The effort comes as Congress continues to investigate highly-targeted foreign propaganda during the 2016 campaign, which reached, by some estimates, tens of millions of Americans via Facebook alone.

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