April 10, 2018

Klobuchar Statement on Twitter’s Announcement of Support for Honest Ads Act

Twitter announced today that it joined Facebook to support the Honest Ads Act and will take steps toward increased transparency of political and issue ads 

 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 Twitter that it joined Facebook to support the bipartisan Honest Ads Act and will take steps toward increased transparency of political and issue ads. 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.

In a tweet today, the company said, “Twitter is moving forward on our commitment to providing transparency for online ads. We believe the Honest Ads Act provides an appropriate framework for such ads and look forward to working with bill sponsors and others to continue to refine and advance this important proposal.” The announcement comes just a day after Klobuchar and Warner called on Twitter and Google to implement stronger transparency and accountability standards for online political advertisements and voluntarily implement the provisions in the Honest Ads Act.

“I’m glad Twitter today announced its support of the Honest Ads Act and is joining Facebook in efforts that would increase the transparency of online issue and political advertisements. Google, the largest seller of online advertisements, needs to join them in supporting this bill. Now it’s time for Congress to step up and get the Honest Ads Act passed to ensure that all major platforms that sell political advertisements are held to the same rules of the road. Whether it’s on Facebook, Twitter, Google, or another site, Americans have a right to know who is paying to influence public discourse regardless of where ads are sold—and a standard across platforms is crucial.”

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.

###