After troubling revelations that Russian operatives bought ads from social media giants and planted fake news stories to influence the 2016 presidential election, the bipartisan “Honest Ads Act” expected to be introduced Thursday will compel social media and online entities to adhere to the same political ad disclosure requirements as broadcasters.
The bill, sponsored by Sens. John McCain, R-Ariz.; Mark Warner, D-Va.; and Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., would press online companies like Facebook and Google to take “reasonable efforts to ensure that foreign individuals and entities are not purchasing political advertisements in order to influence the American electorate," according to a report by Axios, which saw a preview, and would amend “the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002's definition of electioneering communication to include paid Internet and digital advertisements.”
“Malware, data collection and inappropriate content permeate the entire digital ecosystem with limited deterrence,” Chris Olson, CEO of The Media Trust said in comments emailed to SC Media. “Until accountability for this troublesome activity is assigned to either the digital asset owner or the offending upstream party it will continue unabated."
Introduction of the bill comes on the heels of additional revelations by Ad Age that Facebook and Google helped the conservative advocacy organization Secure America Now target anti-Islamic and anti-Hillary Clinton ads to desired audiences, particularly those located in swing states, during 2016 presidential campaign -- even testing the efficacy of new technology.