‘Republican’ Senator John McCain (AZ) is teaming up with Democrat Senators Mark Warner (VA) and Amy Clobuchar (MN) to support the first of the “Facebook bills,” aimed at battling so-called election interference over Facebook ($FB), Twitter ($TWTR) and Google ($GOOG).
The bill is based primarily on the claim that Russia bought $100K in Facebook ads – mostly in 2015, which didn’t favor any particular candidate.
Even Bill Clinton’s former chief strategist Mark Penn thinks the notion is absurd, penning an article in the Wall St. Journal titled “You Can’t Buy the Presidency for $100,000.”
Still – the Russian witch-hunt must continue, since Hillary didn’t lose on her own merit as a shitty candidate.
Russia attempted to influence the 2016 presidential election by buying and placing political ads on platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Google. The content and purchaser(s) of those online advertisements are a mystery to the public because of outdated laws that have failed to keep up with evolving technology.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 satellite.
Disclosures for those financing ads would apply to any entity with over $500 in ad spending, cumulatively, across any platform. The bill would also place a “reasonable expectation” on social media companies to disclose international buyers of campaign ads.
“There will always be a case where things can fall through the cracks. What we’re trying to do here is start with a light touch,” Warner said. “We don’t want to slow down innovation on the internet, we don’t want to slow down technology.”
In a press conference unveiling the bill, the senators pointed out that Google and Facebook carry around 85 percent of online political ads. “Who wouldn’t want to know if the ad appearing next to your story was being paid for by a foreign power?” Klobuchar asked.
It won’t stop there…
McCain, Warner and Clobuchar seem to think their bill is a good start – however Rep. Warner says it will still be difficult to identify ad buyers who are “misrepresenting themselves” so as to conceal the source of funding, and says he hopes “that these platform companies come up with some ideas” for tougher crackdowns on political ad purchases.
“Now the online companies, we’re working with them,” Klobuchar said. “I’m not going to tell you they support this bill right now. They have to realize that the world has changed, they have been selling ads and making money off of this system.”
Even as they skewered Facebook for being “dismissive” early on and Twitter for essentially copying Facebook’s homework in its report to Congress a few weeks ago, the lawmakers appeared hopeful that cooperation would only improve as the depth of Russian election interference becomes more widely understood.
In spite of that increasing cooperation, the senators suggested that voluntary adherence to Congressional guidelines would be an uneven solution at best.
“The problem is, it has to cover everyone — you can’t just have a few companies doing it voluntarily, it has to be in the laws,” Warner said.
“These companies rely on the trust of users,” he added. “It’s in their own self-interest.”
Facebook, Twitter and Google are expected to appear in an open hearing before the House and Senate’s intelligence committees on November 1. Facebook and Twitter confirmed this week that they will not be sending high-profile executives to the hearings, instead opting to be represented by their general counsels.
“I think that they got the message,” Warner said. “I think the real proof in the pudding will be ‘come to the hearing on November 1.’ “
In closing, Hillary was a fine candidate and Trump only won because of Muh Russia – thus everything he does shall be henceforth marked with an asterisk.Comments »