Twitter Joins Facebook in Supporting Honest Ads Act



The decision comes on the heels of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s hearing with members of Congress.

Twitter is joining Facebook in endorsing the Honest Ads Act, which is a bipartisan effort designed to provide greater transparency when it comes to political advertising.

The news broke just hours before Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s on Capitol Hill, which confronted the events of Cambridge Analytica scandal and the overall role the tech titan in American democracy.

Per TechCrunch, the legislation was originally introduced last October by two Democratic Senators: Mark Warner and Amy Klobuchar, with an endorsement from Republican Senator John McCain, in response to surfacing evidence of Russia using Facebook as a means of influencing the outcome of the 2016 presidential election.

The bipartisan bill is aimed to promote political ad transparency by imposing requirements of social media platforms, websites, and ad networks that accumulate more than 50 million unique monthly visitors. Two additional key proposed reforms include:

Amending the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002’s definition of electioneering communication to include paid Internet and digital advertisements.
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.

Zuckerberg’s Facebook post on the matter argued that election interference is “bigger than any one platform.” He continued to voice his support, saying that such legislation would “raise the bar for all political advertising online.” This notion was supported by the fact that Twitter found at least 3,000 accounts linked to Russia posted on the platform during the 2016 election.

Warner took to Twitter to express his excitement about Twitter’s decision, calling it a “huge step forward,” adding that he hopes Google and others will soon join Facebook and Twitter in support of the bill.

According to The Verge, Twitter is also working to launch an Ad Transparency Center (ATC) this summer. Its overarching purpose will be to “go beyond the requirements of the Honest Ads Act and eventually provide increased transparency to all advertisements on Twitter.” Specifically, transparency will be increased for political and “issue ads,” which refer to posts including specific topics such as immigration and gun control. Overall, these will contain additional details beyond those required by the Honest Ads Act pertaining to where the ad originated.

MediaPost added that Twitter’s ATC will also disclose information such as total campaign ad spend, funding organizations, and targeting demographics.

For more on the relationship between social media and politics, join us at SMWNYC where Suraj Patel Candidate for US Congress, NY-12, will explore the role of digital media in democracy. Claim your pass today.

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