Arts&Culture

Lawmakers Take Action Against Facebook Election Propaganda

Lawmakers Take Action Against Facebook Election Propagandaā€¯

The bill, introduced today by Democratic Senators Mark Warner and Amy Klobuchar with a bipartisan boost from Republican Senator John McCain, imposes regulations on social platforms, websites, ad networks and other online entities with more than 50 million unique users per month.

The move by Democratic Senators Mark Warner and Amy Klobuchar, and Republican John McCain on October 19 comes on the heels of allegations that Russian Federation used anonymous ads on social media platforms to meddle and influence opinions during the last year's USA presidential election. In that vain, federal lawmakers also seek to ensure that political ads on Facebook, Google and Twitter must have clear and conspicuous disclaimers saying who purchased them. Warner is the ranking member of the Senate Intelligence Committee.

Warner and Klobuchar said they were not certain about the bill's prospects in Congress but that they hoped to get something passed by early next year or to have the provisions attached to another piece of legislation.

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. The legislation also requires online platforms to "make all reasonable efforts" to ensure that foreign individuals are not purchasing USA political ads. "The social media companies were frankly late to the game in acknowledging this problem, but I think they're moving in the right direction".

And tech giants would lastly have to employ "reasonable efforts" to ensure that foreign governments and their agents - from Russian Federation or elsewhere - are not purchasing political ads on their platforms.

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84-year-old senator Dianne Feinstein is running for re-election next year
California Democrats have been anxiously circling Feinstein's seat, hoping she would create an opening for them by retiring. She's an institution, and has a formidable political operation that's been around forever", the strategist told me.

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.

"I have a hard time understanding how you do legislation on social media platforms before you have them in for a hearing", Senate Intelligence Chairman Richard Burr, a Republican, told CNN on Thursday. "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".

Of the thousands of Russian-bought Facebook ads, Facebook has said less than $3 was spent on half of the ads.

Disclose contact information for the ads' purchaser, and how much they paid for the ad. 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. The effort comes as Congress continues to investigate highly-targeted foreign propaganda during the 2016 campaign, which reached, by some estimates, tens of millions of Americans via Facebook alone.



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