Twitter, Google Pushed to Adopt Political Ad Disclosures

Sens. Mark Warner (D-Va.) and Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) have called on the CEO's of Twitter and Alphabet (Google) to follow Facebook's lead and voluntarily institute political ad disclosures the legislators are attempting to legislate.

That came in a letter Monday (April 9).

Facebook announced those changes, along with others, in advance of CEO Mark Zuckerberg's testimony before two powerful congressional committees this week. Twitter has also made a political ad disclosure pledge, which the legislators acknowledged.

Related: Zuckerberg Says Facebook Did Not Do Enough to Stop Fake News

Warner and Klobuchar are the co-sponsors of a bill, the Honest Ads Act, which would legislate such enhanced disclosures, but they want edge providers to get ahead of that curve. Zuckerberg also announced his support for the Honest Ads Act, which would mandate similar disclosures on his edge competition.

That bill would essentially apply the same kind of political ad disclosures that currently apply to print, broadcasters and cable operators--importantly who is paying for the ads--to the edge. It would also require there to be a public record of the ads published from an advertiser if it totals more than $500 in a year. Lastly, it requires best efforts to prevent foreign meddling in elections.

Separately, the Federal Election Commission is also contemplating expanding those disclosure requirements to online political ads.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.