US Senators Single Out Russia In Push Against Anonymous Online Political Ads

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After months of congressional investigations into Russian interference with USA elections, legislation is gaining traction in the Senate that would impose new disclosure requirements for political advertising on Facebook, Twitter, Google and other social media.

Sen. John McCain, an Arizona Republican, has joined their effort and is co-sponsoring the bill, giving it a bipartisan boost in the Republican-controlled Congress.

"We're going to bring Facebook to an even higher standard of transparency", he added.

As the top Democrat on the Senate Intel Committee, Warner has had a front row seat to the revelations around Russian interference in the 2016 US election.

Its creators hope that the bill can make its way through Congress before primary season begins, fending off or at least complicating further attempts by the Russian government to seed divisive political ads online.

The proposal arrives as congressional lawmakers continue to probe the extent to which Russian-aligned sought to co-opt Facebook, Google and Twitter before and after the 2016 presidential race. GOP Sens. Susan Collins of Maine, John Cornyn of Texas and Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr of North Carolina have all said in interviews they want to wait for the hearing before deciding on legislation.

This report comes after it was discovered that Russian Federation bought some 3,000 ads and cut Facebook a cheque for over $100,000 during the 2016 election.

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Representatives of Google, Facebook, and Twitter are expected to testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee next month.

"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".

She said the legislation would require online platforms with more than 50 million average monthly users to "maintain a public file so people know what is in these ads". From Twitter, it'll be acting General Counsel Sean Edgett, a spokeswoman said. "Well, now we're at $1.4 billion", she said.

Facebook in particular has been making an effort to provide a bit more transparency in how political advertising is bought on its platform. "I operate on what I believe in, and if people agree, then they agree". "What I understood they were trying to get at is already illegal: foreign money in USA elections".

Facebook said at least $100,000 in ads were paid for in rubles to accounts traced to Russian Federation.

An ad-buyer could reach up to nearly 4 million Americans in 24 hours by spending $9,999 - a dollar under the $10,000 limit - according to estimates on Facebook's ad platform reviewed by CNN.

The senators said this was a first step, light touch action, targeted specifically towards purchasers of online political ads and wouldn't put restrictions on individuals' abilities to express themselves through, Klobuchar said, "cat videos.or cat videos about Donald Trump". The ads appear to have come from a Russian entity known as the Internet Research Agency, according to Facebook.