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April 06, 2018

Klobuchar Statement on Facebook’s Actions to Implement Honest Ads Act

Facebook announced today that it supports the Honest Ads Act and will voluntarily implement transparency requirements for issue advertisements on their site

 The Honest Ads Act would help prevent foreign actors from influencing our elections by ensuring that political ads sold online have the same transparency and disclosure requirements as ads sold on TV, radio, and satellite

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Ranking Member of the Senate Rules Committee, today released the following statement on the announcement by Facebook that it supports the bipartisan Honest Ads Act and will voluntarily implement the bill’s transparency requirements for issue advertisements on their site. The Honest Ads Act would help prevent foreign actors from influencing our elections by ensuring that political ads sold online have the same transparency and disclosure requirements as ads sold on TV, radio, and print. Klobuchar introduced the bill in 2017 with U.S. Senator Mark Warner (D-VA), Vice Chairman of the Select Committee on Intelligence, and U.S. Senator John McCain (R-AZ), Chairman of the Senate Committee on Armed Services.

“This is a positive step by Facebook to take the lead to put in place the transparency requirements called for in the Honest Ads Act, but a patchwork of voluntary measures from tech companies isn’t going to cut it—we need to pass the Honest Ads Act. The goal of this legislation is to ensure that all major platforms that sell political advertisements are held to the same rules of the road. As political advertising continues to move online, we must have consistent standards for transparency and accountability in the digital ad space that mirror what is already required for television, radio, and print. Americans have a right to know who is paying to influence public discourse regardless of where ads are sold.”

Russia attempted to influence the 2016 presidential election by buying and placing political ads on platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and GoogleThe content and purchaser(s) of those online advertisements are a mystery to the public because of outdated laws that have failed to keep up with evolving technology. The Honest Ads Act would prevent foreign actors from influencing our elections by ensuring that political ads sold online are covered by the same rules as ads sold on TV, radio, and print.

The Honest Ads Act enhances the integrity of our democracy by improving disclosure requirements for online political advertisements by:

  • Amending the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002’s definition of electioneering communication to include paid Internet and digital advertisements.
  • Requiring digital platforms with at least 50,000,000 monthly viewers to maintain a public file of all electioneering communications purchased by a person or group who spends more than $500.00 total on ads published on their platform. The file would contain a digital copy of the advertisement, a description of the audience the advertisement targets, the number of views generated, the dates and times of publication, the rates charged, and the contact information of the purchaser.
  • Requiring online platforms to make all reasonable efforts to ensure that foreign individuals and entities are not purchasing political advertisements in order to influence the American electorate.

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