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Russian Ads on Facebook Prompt Calls to End the Web’s ‘Wild West’

  • Political ad spending surges online with little disclosure
  • FEC has not updated rules on internet advertising since 2006
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Facebook to Go Before Senate Panel on Russian Meddling

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Social media platforms are capturing a growing share of political advertising in the U.S. and the revelation that Russian interests used Facebook to influence the presidential election are stirring calls for greater transparency.

Television stations, cable and satellite companies and radio stations all must keep records of and disclose who pays for political messages on their outlets, how much they paid, and when the ads aired. As early as 1927, Congress passed a law barring radio stations from broadcasting any ad that didn’t identify its sponsor.