Twitter to disclose info on political ads amid scrutiny

FILE - This Wednesday, April 26, 2017, file photo shows the Twitter app on a mobile phone in Philadelphia. Twitter says it will provide more information about political ads on its service, including who is funding them and how they are targeted. The move follows similar steps by Facebook and the introduction of a bill that seeks to bring more transparency to online political ads in an attempt to lessen the influence of Russia and other foreign entities on U.S. elections. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)

NEW YORK — Twitter says it will provide more information about political ads on its service, including who is funding them and how they are targeted.

The move follows similar steps by Facebook and the introduction of a bill to bring more transparency to online political ads to lessen the influence of foreign entities on U.S. elections. The bill would require social media companies to keep public records on election ads and meet the same disclaimer requirements as political broadcast and print advertising. Companies would have to make “reasonable efforts” to ensure election ads are not purchased by a foreign entity, something already prohibited by law.

Twitter said it will require ads that refer to a candidate or party to be clearly identified as election ads. The company will also require the organization funding the ads to disclose its identity, along with how much money it is spending on each ad campaign.

For non-political ads, Twitter will provide limited information, such as how long they’ve been running.

Twitter didn’t outline new policies on “issue-based” ads. These are the sorts of advertisements that Russia-linked accounts reportedly used to stoke tensions in the U.S. In a statement, Twitter said it is “committed to stricter policies and transparency around issues-based ads” and that it will work with other companies and policy makers to define them.

 

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