Bipartisan bill seeks to regulate political ads on Facebook, Twitter and Google

Facebook What are they really thinking

Facebook said in a statement from its USA public policy vice president, Erin Egan, that it stood "with lawmakers in their effort to achieve transparency in political advertising" and that it looked "forward to continuing the conversation with lawmakers as we work toward a legislative solution". Facebook and Google in particular are facing fierce pushback following disclosures that Kremlin-linked groups used online ad platforms to try to disrupt the 2016 election, and this week, Democratic Senators Mark Warner (who is helping lead the Senate's Russian Federation investigation) and Amy Klobuchar introduced the Honest Ads Act, which imposes strict rules on the disclosures online platforms make when serving up political ads. Following Facebook's disclosure of the ads, Twitter found some accounts that were linked to them, plus others that weren't linked.

This report comes after it was discovered that Russian Federation bought some 3,000 ads and cut Facebook a cheque for over $100,000 during the 2016 election.

Dubbed the Honest Ads Act, the proposed legislation aims to make online platforms disclose paid political ads.

As the top Democrat on the Senate Intel Committee, Warner has had a front row seat to the revelations around Russian interference in the 2016 USA election.

An executive from Alphabet Inc's Google unit also is expected to appear at public hearings before the House and Senate intelligence committees, but the company has not yet said who will testify.

And within Congress, the bill might struggle to advance. Facebook has since turned over more than 3,000 Russian-linked ads to congressional committees investigating Russian interference. "In light of what we've seen it's time to take a step back". A Google spokeswoman said on Thursday there was no update from the company.

"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.




Warner said he expects to get more Republican co-sponsors following the public hearing.

It's also unclear where the social media giants will land on the bill once the details are released.

It looks not only Russian Federation was buying commercials online to help influence the election previous year, 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.

The US Congress wants to regulate Facebook, Twitter, Google, and other internet companies like broadcasting companies.

In the past, technology companies have resisted attempts to force them into disclosing information about paid advertisers, although some have said they would cooperate with congressional committees investigating Russian interference in the election.

The lawmaker overseeing the probe into how Russian agents used Facebook to sway last year's US election was hoping to hear from one of the company's technical experts. The account was identified by the RBC news outlet as one controlled by the Internet Research Agency, a troll farm reportedly funded through a company run by Russian oligarch Yevgeny Prigozhin, a confidant of President Vladimir Putin.

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