Democratic lawmakers are pushing for new legislation that would require greater disclosure of political ads that run on Internet platforms, despite a pledge by Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg that the company will voluntarily pull back the curtain on political advertising on the social network. Sens. Amy Klobuchar (Minn.) and Mark R. Warner (Va.) urged colleagues Thursday to support a bill that would create new transparency requirements for platforms that run political ads online akin to those already in place for TV stations, according to a letter obtained by The Washington Post. The senators said that the Federal Election Commission, the independent agency that regulates political spending, “has failed to take sufficient action to address online political advertisements and our current laws do not adequately address online political advertisements published on platforms like Google, Facebook, and Twitter.”
While the senators suggested they were pleased that Zuckerberg promised to improve how Facebook reviews political ads and to enhance public visibility about who is purchasing them, they told colleagues, “This legislation would formalize, and expand, the transparency requirements Facebook has made.”
The bill would require digital platforms with more than 1 million users to create a public database of all “electioneering communications” purchased by a person or group who spends more than $10,000 on political ads online. In addition to storing a digital copy of the ad, the database would include a description of the targeted audience, the ad’s view count, the date and time the ad ran, its price, and contract information for the purchaser.