Senators to Introduce Social Media Bill to Prevent Future Elections Meddling

Senators Mark Warner (D-Virginia) and Amy Klobuchar (D-Minnesota) are scheduled to introduce a legislation targeting social media to prevent foreign actors from meddling the future U.S. elections.

Warner is the Vice Chairman of the Select Committee on Intelligence while Klobuchar is a Ranking Member of the Senate Rules Committee. Their proposed legislation is known as The Honesy Ads Act.

The Senate Intelligence Committee is one of the congressional panels looking into the alleged Russian interference of the 2016 presidential election. The committee is also investigating the possible collusion between Russians and the Trump campaign during the election.

Senator John McCain (R-Arizona), the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Armed Services, is co-sponsoring The Honest Ads Act.

In a statement, Warner and Klobuchar said, “Russia attempted to influence the 2016 presidential election by buying and placing political ads on platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Google. The content and purchaser(s) of those online advertisements are a mystery to the public because of outdated laws that have failed to keep up with evolving technology.”

The Honest Ads Act would prevent foreign actors from influencing the U.S. elections, according to the senators. They added that the legislation would ensure that social media, TV, radio, and satellite companies that sell political ads are covered by the same rules.

The senators plan to release the full details of the legislation on Thursday, October 19 at 12:40 in the afternoon.

Facebook, Google, and Twitter cooperating with congressional probe

Earlier this month, Facebook admitted that Russians, who have possible connections to the Kremlin bought ads on its platform during the presidential elections. The social network giant estimated that around 10 million people saw the 3,000 political ads purchased by the Russians.

Facebook shared the discovered Russian ads on its platform to the Congress after performing an extensive legal and policy review. The company’s General Counsel explained that the government’s investigation into the issue is “extraordinary” because it raises questions about the integrity of U.S. elections. The social network found 470 Russian-linked accounts on its platform.

Last month, Google disclosed that it started its internal investigation to determine whether Russian actors used its services and advertising platform to influence the 2016 presidential elections. The search engine giant is cooperating with the congressional  probe.

On the other hand, Twitter informed the Congress about its discovery of approximately 200 accounts linked to Russian actors found on Facebook.

The representatives from Facebook, Google, and Twitter are scheduled to testify during the upcoming congressional hearings about the issue on November 1.