Honest Ads Act

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Honest Ads Act
Great Seal of the United States
Legislative history

The Honest Ads Act (S. 1989) is a bill in the United States Senate legislative body to promote regulation of campaign advertisements online by online companies such as Facebook and Google. The act is a bipartisan bill sponsored by Senators Amy Klobuchar (D), Mark Warner (D), and John McCain (R).[1][2] The bill was proposed on October 19, 2017, as a response to investigation regarding Russia purchasing political ads during the United States 2016 presidential election.[3] There is also a companion version to this bill in the House of Representatives, HR 4077, sponsored by Representative Derek Kilmer.[citation needed]

Legislative background and content[edit]

Political ads on television, news print and on the radio are all currently required to disclose who has paid for the advertisement under the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971, but this is not a requirement online. The bill would amend the 1971 law to make "reasonable efforts" to ensure ads are not purchased "directly or indirectly" by foreign countries. The legislation would require companies to disclose how advertisements were targeted as well as how much the ads cost.[4]


The Interactive Advertising Bureau has argued against regulation as being too restrictive, in favor instead for self-regulation.[5] Facebook has publicly supported the bill,[6] although campaign transparency advocates have accused the company of lobbying against it.[7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "What You Need To Know About The Honest Ads Act". NPR.org. Retrieved 2017-11-09.
  2. ^ "America's tech giants have no political party to protect them". The Economist. Retrieved 2017-11-09.
  3. ^ "Senators have a new plan to fix a major loophole that let Russia take advantage of Facebook and tech giants". Business Insider. Retrieved 2017-11-09.
  4. ^ "John McCain is backing a digital transparency bill that probably would've gotten his 2008 campaign in trouble". Business Insider. Retrieved 2017-11-09.
  5. ^ "Lobbying Group for Facebook and Google to Pitch Self-Regulation of Ads". Bloomberg.com. 2017-10-24. Retrieved 2017-11-09.
  6. ^ Merrill, Jeremy B. (January 9, 2020). "Facebook makes a decision: microtargeted, false political ads are fine". Quartz. Retrieved January 10, 2020.
  7. ^ Timmons, Heather; Kozlowska, Hanna (March 22, 2018). "Facebook's quiet battle to kill the first transparency law for online political ads". Quartz. Retrieved January 10, 2020.