Since the Citizen’s United decision allowed almost unlimited spending to take place elections across the U.S. the role of social media has become a major part of the discussion about how to move forward with a more open way of publicizing who is actually paying for political ads. Halloween 2017 saw three of the top social media giants arrive on Capitol Hill to face a group of politicians seem determined to find ways of making the issue of foreign interference in U.S. elections a thing of the past.
A bipartisan bill has recently been unveiled that will make its way through the Senate with the support of Republican Senator John McCain the most notable name on the Honest Ads Act which would require the majority of those buying political ads to provide details of their background. Representatives from Facebook, Twitter, and Google appeared before Senators to discuss the Honest Ads Bill and their own responsibilities towards the issue of foreign countries influencing future U.S. elections.
None of the social media giants would go so far as to provide their complete backing of the Honest Ads Bill but all were willing to shine a light on the work they are competing to provide a more transparent view of the political ads appearing on their networks. TV ads are sold with the need to explain how an ad has been paid for but no such rules currently exist for social media companies.
The most detail about how any of these companies are responding to the problem of political ads came from Google’s representative who started a new feature would allow users to click on a box to bring up information about where the funding for a political ad came from, USA Today reports. The investigation into alleged Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election cycle continues with U.S. politicians looking to make significant changes to the way social media giants bear responsibility for the growing issue of foreign funding for political ads.