Google, Facebook and Twitter face proposed law regulating election ads

In the wake of revelations about Russia-linked ads on Facebook during the 2016 presidential election campaign, two U.S. senators are pushing for legislation that would force Google, Facebook, Twitter and other large digital-advertising companies to publicly disclose information about election ads, according to a new report.

The Federal Election Commission, which regulates political spending, has failed to sufficiently address online political ads and “our current laws do not adequately address online political advertisements published on platforms like Google, Facebook and Twitter,” said Democrat senators Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota and Mark Warner of Virginia, the Washington Post reported.

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Digital platforms with a million or more users would have to create public databases of all “electioneering communications” bought by individuals or groups spending more than $10,000 on poiltical ads online, according to the paper.

The database must include a description of the targeted audience, view count of each ad, date and time an ad was run, and information about the purchaser, the paper reported.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has pledged to improve the firm’s reviewing of political ads and to enhance transparency about who is buying them, and the two senators were happy about that, according to the paper.

“The proposed legislation — and the pledge by Facebook to create its own voluntary disclosure system — puts new pressure on other tech companies such as Google and Twitter to determine whether they will adopt their own policies,” the paper said.

Democrat official Ellen Weintraub has said she would invite Google, Facebook, Twitter and other firms to attend a public hearing on possible new disclosure rules regarding online ads, the paper reported Sept. 21.

 

Photo: Google CEO Sundar Pichai (AP Photo/Eric Risberg, FILE)

 

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