Senators demand disclosure on social media ads to fight Russian influence

A bipartisan group of senators on Thursday introduced legislation that would require ads on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Google to explain who bought them, a response to the discovery that Russian entities were buying ads to influence the 2016 election.

Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., and Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., introduced the legislation as congressional committees continue their investigations into Russian meddling and influence in the 2016 election, and how social media was used.

“Foreign agents used American social media to spread misinformation and to sow division,” Warner, vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, told reporters at a press conference Thursday.

Should the Honest Act become law, digital platforms with at least 50,000,000 monthly viewers would have to maintain a public file of all electioneering communications purchased by a person or group who spends more than $500 total on ads published on their platform.

That file would show the advertisement digitally, describe the targeted audience, as well as the number of views generated, the dates and times of publication, the rates charge, and the contact information of the purchaser.

“Russia will keep trying to divide our country,” Klobuchar said Thursday. “They’ve tried it once, and they’ll do it again. That’s why we’ve introduced this bill.”

Klobuchar said digital companies would buy into the legislation because they’ve “admitted there’s a problem.”

This post originally appeared on Washington Examiner


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