Facebook announced Friday that it would support a bipartisan piece of legislation that regulates political ads on the internet, less than a week before CEO Mark Zuckerberg is set to testify in front of lawmakers on Capitol Hill.
The Honest Ads Act, introduced last October by Sens. Amy Klobuchar (D-MI), Mark Warner (D-VA) and John McCain (R-AZ), calls for internet political ads to be transparent, and disclose who paid for them. Currently that mandate only applies to political ads that run on television, radio, and print media.
“The content and purchaser(s) of those online advertisements are a mystery to the public because of outdated laws that have failed to keep up with evolving technology,” Warner’s proposal read. “The Honest Ads Act would prevent foreign actors from influencing our elections by ensuring that political ads sold online are covered by the same rules as ads sold on TV, radio, and satellite.”
As recently as last week, it was still unclear whether or not Facebook would support the measure, and the company’s head of ad products declined to offer any clarification. But in a Facebook post on Friday, Zuckerberg himself endorsed the idea.
“Election interference is a problem that’s bigger than any one platform,” he wrote. “That’s why we support the Honest Ads Act. This will help raise the bar for all political advertising online.”
Last Friday Facebook rolled out it’s own policy response to disingenuous political ads, announcing that U.S. political advertisers would have to verify who they are and whether they’re legitimate before advertising on the platform.
Facebook is currently dealing with continued fallout from the Cambridge Analytica scandal, in which the political consulting firm improperly accessed and utilized Facebook user data to run pro-Trump content on social media during the 2016 presidential election. On Wednesday, the company announced that the number of users whose data may have been affected had been raised from 50 million to a staggering 87 million.