A bipartisan group of federal lawmakers wants to make it more difficult for Russia to influence US elections. To that end, the group has drawn up legislation requiring Internet-based companies like Google, Twitter, and Facebook to disclose who is buying political advertisements on their platforms and maintain those records after elections. The Honest Ads Act would heap on the Internet some of the same types of political advertising rules that apply for TV, radio, and print. The legislation is designed to somehow enforce federal election laws that forbid foreign nationals and foreign governments from spending money in the US to influence elections.
“We understand that election security is national security, and we know Russian threats to national security don’t always involve traditional weapons of war,” Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) said at a news conference announcing the legislation.
The proposal comes ahead of a November 1 congressional hearing concerning how Russia took advantage of online platforms with political advertising during last year’s presidential election season. Facebook, for example, says it found about 500 “inauthentic” accounts it believes are linked to Russia.