McCain Honest Ads Act looks to regulate online political ads

Facebook What are they really thinking

She said the legislation would require online platforms with more than 50 million average monthly users to "maintain a public file so people know what is in these ads".

In an interview on MSNBC, Klobuchar said that the Russian-purchased ads are a national security issue, and while the new bill would not forbid companies from selling ads to foreign groups, Klobuchar said that "Americans must be able to know who is paying for these ads".

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".

The issue started weeks ago when Facebook revealed that it had discovered advertisements bought by a Russia-linked entity during the 2016 presidential election. Warner is the top Democrat on the Senate intelligence committee, one of three panels looking into Russian activity tied to the election. In recent days, they've also enlisted critical Republican support from Sen. John McCain signed onto it.

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. That's in contrast to special counsel Robert Mueller, who is also investigating and has the ability to prosecute if he finds any criminal wrongdoing.

It remains unclear how exactly the bill will account for the unique challenges of regulating online ads, versus those broadcast over public airwaves. "That's not the way I operate", he said.

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Facebook, Twitter and Google are expected to appear in an open hearing before the House and Senate's intelligence committees on November 1. Sens. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota and Mark Warner of Virginia introduced The Honest Ads Act Thursday afternoon. "I operate on what I believe in, and if people agree, then they agree".

"These companies rely on the trust of all of us who use the platforms", said Senator Warner. "We have to secure our election systems and we have to do it now". A Google spokeswoman said on Thursday there was no update from the company.

The companies have said very little publicly about the bill or the prospect of regulation.

If lawmakers have anything to do with it, political ads on Facebook, Google, Twitter and other online platforms may soon be subject to the same disclosure requirements as traditional political advertising.

"We stand with lawmakers in their effort to achieve transparency in political advertising", Erin Egan, Facebook's vice president for United States public policy, said in a statement. "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".

His knowledge of the Washington landscape helped him negotiate a 2011 settlement with the Federal Trade Commission, which had charged Facebook with deceiving consumers about whether it would keep their data private.

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