Facebook, Twitter lawyers to testify in Congress on Russian Federation meddling

Former Hillary strategist: Come on, you can't buy the presidency for $100K

Two senators introduced a bipartisan bill on Thursday that would force social media companies and other websites to reveal more information about political advertising on their platforms, following revelations that a Russian troll operation used ads in an attempt to interfere in the 2016 elections.

In addition to Klobuchar and Warner-the ranking Democrats on the Senate Rules and Intelligence committees, respectively-the bill is co-sponsored by Sen.

Penalties for noncompliance would be similar to those in the Federal Election Campaign Act, which regulates the financing of political campaigns in the United States, and would include fines and other liability for the individuals and online platforms involved.

Tech companies have been resistant to past attempts to regulate them, and Warner previously has been critical of social media platforms' slowness to cooperate with the Russian Federation investigation underway at Senate Intelligence Committee, which he vice-chairs.

It's not clear whether Republican House and Senate leaders or the White House will back the various efforts, although Attorney General Jeff Sessions said at a hearing Wednesday he's willing to work with lawmakers on issues such as cybersecurity.

Facebook has turned over 3,000 paid political ads purchased by Russian-linked accounts to the House and Senate intelligence committees that which showed efforts to sow discord in the USA with posts on Black Lives Matter, gun rights and more.

The House committee is working to release the Facebook ads publicly after the hearing.

Facebook also outlined other measures it says it will take to try to boost disclosure, including requiring more documentation on the source of political spots. "Our laws should be as sophisticated as those who are trying to manipulate us or to break the law". She said the company also is using "machine learning and automation" to target fake accounts that spread fake news.

It is illegal for foreign entities to make contributions in USA elections, but a lack of rules around online political advertising means the Russian ad activity could go mostly undetected. "The social media companies were frankly late to the game in acknowledging this problem, but I think they're moving in the right direction". The bill would mandate digital platforms keep a public repository of paid political advertising. "I operate on what I believe in, and if people agree, then they agree". "They need to disclose and publicly register and notice who's buying ads for political purposes", said Klobuchar, of Minnesota. Even as they skewered Facebook for being "dismissive" early on and Twitter for essentially copying Facebook's homework in its report to Congress a few weeks ago, the lawmakers appeared hopeful that cooperation would only improve as the depth of Russian election interference becomes more widely understood. According to Facebook, someone buying an ad for $33 - the average cost suggested by the $100,000 the Russians spent on roughly 3,000 ads - could expect to reach between 11,000-63,000 users in one day.

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