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Twitter endorses the Honest Ads Act like Facebook to bring political ad transparency


Just a few hours ago, when the social media companies facing a regulatory reckoning with the social network giant Facebook’s appearance on the Hill, an online news & social network ‘Twitter’ is taking a step ahead with Facebook.

With a series of tweets from its official public policy account, Twitter made it clear that it’s standing with Facebook on Honest Ads Act. Honest Ads Act is a piece of legislation which came into existence last year in response to rising evidence that Russia leveraged social media platform to influence the U.S. (The United States) presidential election.

Since the scandal of Cambridge Analytica broke, the bill’s supporters found an amazing opportunity to apply pressure to the largely regulation-averse social media platforms, and that strategy seems to be paying off.

The act was introduced on October 19, last year (2017) by Democratic Senators Amy Klobuchar and Mark Warner, with an endorsement from Republican Senator called John McCain. The bill imposes ad transparency policy to promote regulation of campaign advertisements online on social media platforms such as Google and Facebook.

Under the Federal Election Campaign Act 1971, it is mandatory for all political ads shown on television, printed in newspapers, magazines and run on radios to disclose who has paid for the ads but it’s not compulsory in case of online media. But now by executing this bill, it would be essential to disclose the name of the person/organization who paid for the ad along with target audience and cost of the ad under this new bill.

The bill will be imposed on all social networking sites, ad networks that generate more than 50 million unique visitors a month.
Amid the chaos over election snooping, Twitter came to the stage offering transparency center that will be mainly developed as a section to manage political ads that will unveil facts like how much was spent on each campaign, identify the organization that funds the campaign and also the demographics of the ad. The company also highlighted that it would introduce strong penalties against the advertisers who violate the policies.

On Tuesday, a popular platform ‘Twitter’ accepted that they are ready to provide more information on the origin of political advertisements, beyond the need of the proposed USA legislation.

The sponsors of Honest Ads Act wrote letters to the CEO of Twitter (Jack Dorsey) and to the co-founder of Google (Larry Page) asking their support for the proposed legislation.

According to the senators, these measures not only upsurges transparency in political ads but also encourage accountability – both of platforms and of political advertisers. Google didn’t respond quickly to a request for comment on their letter.