Honest Ads Bill Creates Online Political Ad Public File

McCain Honest Ads Act looks to regulate online political ads

US legislation that would impose new disclosure requirements on political ads that run on Facebook and other websites received support on Wednesday from Senator John McCain, giving a bipartisan boost to a bill already popular among Democrats. Sens. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and Mark Warner (D-Va.) are sponsoring the bill with support from John McCain (R-Ariz.).

Several senators are also working on bills aimed at improving election security, including Democrat Martin Heinrich of New Mexico and Collins, both members of the Intelligence Committee.

The goal is to pass the bill by early next year, well before the next midterm election, although it's unclear exactly when Congress would vote on it.

The proposal arrives as congressional lawmakers continue to probe the extent to which Russian-aligned sought to co-opt Facebook, Google and Twitter before and after the 2016 presidential race. In two weeks, executives for the social media giants are due to testify at public hearings about Russia's use of their networks to interfere in the 2016 election.

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

It looks not only Russian Federation was buying commercials online to help influence the election a year ago, Facebook and Google also worked closely with conservative non-profit Secure America Now and advertising firm Harris Media on ad campaigns aiming swing state voters with anti-Muslim and anti-refugee messages, and linking Democratic candidates to terrorists, according to a report from Bloomberg. Under it, tech companies like the ones above would be required to disclose the political online ads its sells, and that disclosure will include who purchases the advertisements. From Twitter, it'll be acting General Counsel Sean Edgett, a spokeswoman said.

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In releasing the ads to Congress, Sandberg said, "It's important that [the investigators] get the whole picture and explain that to the American people". The bipartisan bill will, should it pass, require all digital platforms to federally disclose who buys political ads on each platform's website or app, the goal being to avoid further foreign meddling in USA elections and fueling the flames around issues like racial tensions.

"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. "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".

Facebook said at least $100,000 in ads were paid for in rubles to accounts traced to Russian Federation.

Disclose contact information for the ads' purchaser, and how much they paid for the ad.

An ad-buyer could reach up to nearly 4 million Americans in 24 hours by spending $9,999 - a dollar under the $10,000 limit - according to estimates on Facebook's ad platform reviewed by CNN. The ads appear to have come from a Russian entity known as the Internet Research Agency, according to Facebook.

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