Politics: Political Ads Are Flourishing Online. Few Agree How to Regulate Them. - - PressFrom - US
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Politics Political Ads Are Flourishing Online. Few Agree How to Regulate Them.

05:20  17 november  2019
05:20  17 november  2019 Source:   online.wsj.com

Silicon Valley congressman: Regulate political ads on Facebook just like copyright

  Silicon Valley congressman: Regulate political ads on Facebook just like copyright Ro Khanna has some big ideas for regulating big tech in America.US Rep. Ro Khanna, whose California district includes a portion of Silicon Valley, is one of those stuck in the middle. Allowing political ads to be posted with no fact checking was "wrong," he said speaking at a press conference at Web Summit in Lisbon on Wednesday. But he also doesn't believe in an outright ban.

FEC Chair Ellen Weintraub is proposing rules that would require online political ads to attach a disclaimer describing who is paying for them . Amid ideological deadlock, the commission has struggled to agree on how to regulate online ads since it was revealed that Russian actors

Online platforms like Facebook have become so large and influential that political advertising should be Going forward, political ads will have to show the Facebook pages that paid for them . But the company hasn't given a clear picture of how it'll keep people using fake accounts from abusing that

Political campaigns and advocacy groups plan to funnel billions of dollars into digital advertising over the next year. But as federal guidelines on how to regulate these ads are virtually absent, some states are making their own laws, while technology giants are drawing the lines for acceptable political speech on the fly.

Ellen L. Weintraub sitting at a table with a laptop and smiling at the camera© Carolyn Kaster/Associated Press

The Federal Election Commission, the main body overseeing political ads, has been paralyzed by vacancies and staff disagreements over updating rules. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is blocking a bill that aims to regulate such ads online.

Blueprints for 3D-printed guns banned online

  Blueprints for 3D-printed guns banned online Seattle District Court finds State Department's 2018 move to reverse Obama-era ban on free, downloadable gun plans violated federal procedural lawIn July 2018 the State Department reversed an earlier decision, made under the Obama administration, to ban posting of the gun blueprints. The Obama State Department had deemed the blueprints to be in violation of federal export laws, as they were downloaded by people outside the U.S. Soon after the Trump State Department changed tack on that, 19 states and Washington D.C. sued the Trump administration to block the reversal and keep the free gun blueprints off the internet.

Disclosure rules for funding political ads are murky. Now Facebook wants to regulate itself. The FEC ended up deadlocked on the issue, and the question of how to handle digital ads has But they likely wouldn't prevent abuses, largely because of the US's confusing, loophole-ridden system for

Regulating online advertising would not solve the problem of misinformation, of course, but it Legitimate advertisers should have few complaints about having to stand behind their advertising These requirements are not a penalty on the internet. Think of them instead as finally regulating

White House officials have had discussions in recent weeks about replacing the entire slate of FEC commissioners, according to people familiar with the talks, which could extend the uncertainty. Representatives from the White House and the FEC declined to comment.

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Twitter Inc. said Friday it would ban most political ads and limit geographic or keyword targeting for any type of cause, among other changes. Facebook, meanwhile, doesn’t plan to fact-check political ads, though Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg has said companies would benefit from “clearer rules for the internet.” Other companies from Pinterest Inc. to Microsoft Corp.’s LinkedIn have set site-specific rules.

As Political Ads Balloon Online, Consensus on Regulation Is Elusive

  As Political Ads Balloon Online, Consensus on Regulation Is Elusive With federal rules covering digital political ads virtually absent, some states are making their own laws, while tech giants are drawing the lines for acceptable political speech on the fly. © Carolyn Kaster/Associated Press The FEC’s Ellen Weintraub, a Democrat, says she is encouraged that some states are regulating digital political ads, but ‘it would be far better if we could act at the federal level.’ The Federal Election Commission, the main governing body overseeing political ads, has been paralyzed by vacancies and staff disagreements over updating rules.

Advertising from candidates and a wide range of other political actors, including political -action “Anyone — whether they ’re running an ad or not — can be held accountable for what they say and In an apparent effort to remove itself from the thicket of regulating political speech, she said, Twitter

Is regulated as political advertising . Why should I get authorized to run political ads ? If they are flagged, you won’t be able to distribute them without appeal or authorization. Want to see what political ads look like? Wondering how much each political advertiser spent on Facebook this week

Some states are seeking to fill what ad industry representatives, technology executives, politicians and analysts describe as a policy vacuum. Several states including California and New York have recently enacted or updated legislation requiring advertisers to disclose information such as who paid for an ad, or having online platforms set up digital political ad archives.

Because state rules only extend to local and state elections, their impact on overall digital political advertising has been limited. In some states that have updated digital ad rules, tech giants including Facebook Inc. and Alphabet Inc.’s Google banned political ads for local and statewide races.

“Until there are uniform standards, it’s going to be a very piecemeal approach,” said Michael Beckel, a research manager at Issue One, a nonprofit seeking to boost transparency in politics. “Different people in different places are going to learn different amounts of information about their candidates.”

Snapchat fact-checks political ads where Facebook won't

  Snapchat fact-checks political ads where Facebook won't Snapchat may have another way to compete against rival apps like Instagram: truth in advertising. Snap chief Evan Spiegel told CNBC in an interview that his company has a team that fact-checks all political advertising -- a sharp contrast to Facebook, which has refused to verify the accuracy of political ads so far. The company wants to "create a place" for these ads, Spiegel said, and it's particularly important given Snapchat's young audience.He likened Snap's ad policy to that of cable TV networks, which are allowed to block ads they deem unacceptable. This typically means blocking ads that make demonstrably false assertions.

Of course, if we are to regulate political speech, we must determine what political speech is . Should an advertisement supporting renewable energy be Should any advocacy for any issue be labeled political speech? These are not easy questions to answer and perhaps they are questions without a

But they will make it a lot harder for anyone to do what the Russians did during the 2016 election All the vetted ads “will be clearly labelled in the top left-hand corner as ‘ Political Ad ’”, Goldman and The company would not say how big a page had to be to qualify as large, but confirmed that when a page

The patchwork of rules is sowing confusion as a record number of presidential campaigns are ramping up ad spending before nominating contests starting in February. And they are increasingly using digital platforms to reach voters.

Digital political ad spending is expected to reach $2.9 billion in 2020, up from $1.4 billion in 2016, according to Borrell Associates Inc., a consulting firm. Watchdogs including lawmakers, technology executives and advocacy groups have called for greater transparency for political ads following revelations that Russian entities purchased digital ads designed to influence the 2016 vote, many of them spreading misinformation.

The FEC, an independent federal agency that oversees federal campaign finance law, has authority to regulate political ads including digital ones. Its purview doesn’t include so-called issues-based ads, such as those from advocacy groups or trade organizations.

FEC commissioners haven’t been able to conduct regular business since August, when a resignation left three commissioners and three vacant positions. Even before the latest impasse, Democratic and Republican members for years were unable to reach consensus over possible disclaimer and disclosure rules that would apply to all digital political ads, current and past commissioners said. The FEC is unlikely to resume functioning fully soon, and it’s unclear when lawmakers and commissioners will agree on rule updates.

Google Limits Political Ad Targeting, Bans Misleading Info

  Google Limits Political Ad Targeting, Bans Misleading Info Google is severely limiting how political advertisers can target people online, a decision made after weeks of furious debate over how online platforms handle campaign messages. © Photographer: Michael Nagle/Bloomberg Pedestrians are reflected in a window looking into a lobby of the Google Inc. offices in New York. The Alphabet Inc. unit said in a blog post on Wednesday it will no longer allow election ads to be targeted based on political affiliation on Google Search, YouTube and across the web.

Today they plan to introduce what they 're calling the Honest Ads Act, which aims to introduce ad disclosure regulations similar to those for television. As The New York Times notes, the Federal Election Commission has been attempting to regulate online political advertising for years, and

Political advertising in print and broadcast media has stringent rules, she said, but online While US tech companies believed then that such demands had nothing to do with them , she said Ireland has no modern legislation to regulate the explosion in online election campaigning, which is a national

To some commissioners, existing rules, such as those requiring disclaimers, already apply to most digital ads.

FEC Chairwoman Ellen Weintraub, a Democrat, said while she is encouraged that states have jumped in to address the issue, “it would be far better if we could act at the federal level.”

The FEC’s vice chairman, Caroline Hunter, has a different view. “My colleagues’ over-regulatory approach would make it harder for small-dollar campaigns and others to run political ads online,” said Ms. Hunter, a Republican.

Democratic presidential hopeful Amy Klobuchar, who is ranking member of the Senate Rules Committee, sent a letter in late August to President Trump, urging him to vet and nominate commissioner candidates quickly so the FEC could function again. The Senate panel has jurisdiction over the FEC.

The Campaign Legal Center, an advocacy group, filed a complaint petitioning the FEC to extend enforcement of traditional-media laws to digital ads.

The Honest Ads Act, a bipartisan Senate bill supported by the center that pushes for digital ad disclaimers, has yet to have a hearing despite being introduced months ago. Mr. McConnell is blocking the bill, saying it doesn’t have the teeth to stop possible foreign interference in elections.

Separately, the House passed a bill in March that would overhaul the FEC, cutting the number of commissioners to five and streamlining the investigation process. But it has yet to be taken up in the Senate.

Sacha Baron Cohen Rips Into Facebook, YouTube and Twitter for Spreading Lies and Hate

  Sacha Baron Cohen Rips Into Facebook, YouTube and Twitter for Spreading Lies and Hate Calling social media “the greatest propaganda machine in history,” and the CEOs of Facebook, Twitter and YouTube “high-tech robber barons,” comedian Sacha Baron Cohen used a speech given to the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) this week to call for much more stringent regulation of internet companies. “By now, it’s pretty clear they cannot be trusted to regulate themselves,” Cohen said, adding that it may not be enough to just fine social media companies if they continue to provide a forum to bigotry and hate. Instead, he suggested, CEOs should be held personally liable if their products are used to interfere in elections, or enable genocide.

It’s an ugly reality we see in every corner of the web: racism, bigotry, misogyny, political extremism. Hate speech seems to thrive on the internet like a cancer. It persists and flourishes on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Reddit — they certainly don’t claim to welcome it

If they choose to waive these rights, users would receive a “slice of every digital ad ” that uses their data through a value added tax on all digital advertising . The office would supply Congress with new resources to learn how the tech industry functions and how best they could regulate it.

“There needs to be some baseline requirements that are imposed on all of these platforms that can give the public an extra level of comfort that there’s transparency and accountability in terms of where these advertisements are coming from,” said Rep. John Sarbanes (D., Md.), who co-sponsored the bill.

At least 32 states including California, New Jersey and Maryland have expanded their ad-disclosure laws to include online ads, either by requiring disclaimers or requiring a link to the source, according to the Campaign Legal Center.

The patchwork of restrictions effectively hurts smaller campaigns, which rely on affordable digital ads on platforms such as Facebook rather than pricey broadcast ads, said Annie Levene, a partner at the political-ad-buying firm Rising Tide Interactive. “It doesn’t necessarily prevent bad actors or misinformation.”

Tech companies have sometimes challenged states’ revised rules. After the Public Disclosure Commission, a Washington state agency, updated digital-ad-disclosure rules last year, Facebook and Google said they would no longer accept state or local political ads in the state.

Kim Bradford, a spokeswoman for the commission, said it filed administrative charges against Facebook in October and since June has investigated Google over alleged violations of transparency requirements in local-election ads. Facebook and Google didn’t comment on the commission’s investigations.

Some buyers have been able to find loopholes. Jake Levy-Pollans, a digital consultant who has worked on Washington state campaigns, said he has been able to purchase and run ads for clients in the state, often if they don’t name a specific lawmaker or official, while other campaigns’ ads are taken down for similar content.

California, meanwhile, is forming a digital media task force involving advocacy groups, academia and the tech sector, said Richard Miadich, chairman of the California Fair Political Practices Commission. That is so “the public has transparency and campaigns know the rules,” he said. The state’s new measure to boost political ad disclosure goes into effect Jan. 1.

Write to Emily Glazer at emily.glazer@wsj.com and Patience Haggin at patience.haggin@wsj.com

Senate Democrats release robust federal privacy bill to regulate tech company business practices .
Senate Democrats introduced sweeping data privacy protections Tuesday in an effort led by Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) to federally regulate tech company business practices.© Provided by Geekwire Sen. Maria Cantwell discusses net neutrality at a 2017 town hall in Seattle. (GeekWire Photo / Monica Nickelsburg) The bill would establish new privacy rights for all Americans while still allowing states to pass their own regulations. It’s an ambitious proposal likely to face an uphill battle with Republican opposition, a Congress distracted by the impeachment inquiry, and an upcoming election year.

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