The Honest Ads Act which is to be revealed at a press conference would impose regulations on internet companies such as Facebook and Google, requiring them to archive advertisements bought around election content in a publicly available file.
Senator Mark Warner’s office said the bill could “help prevent foreign actors from influencing our elections by ensuring that political ads solid online are covered by the same rules as ads sold on TV, radio, and satellite.”
He added that “this is the first substantive bipartisan piece of legislation that’s trying to — with a very light touch, because we don’t want to slow down innovation, or restrict free speech or people’s access to the internet — to deal with the problem that we saw in 2016 in terms of foreign interference in our electoral process.”
According to Axios, this file would contain a digital copy of the advertisement, a description of who the target audience is, how many views it generates, when it was published, how much was paid as well as the information of whoever purchased it.
The 2002 Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act will also be amended by the bill in order to expand the definition of “electioneering communication” and include in it digital platforms and paid online advertisements.
For the past few weeks there have been speculations about imposing stricter internet regulations as a result of disclosures by Facebook, Twitter and Google that politically motivated ads were sold to Russian actors during last year’s presidential election. The three companies are to testify as part of a review into possible election interference, CNBC reports.
The bill was introduced by Senators Mark Warner and Amy Klobuchar.