Congress should hold the Facebook Election Commission accountable to its transparency commitments

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Today, Mark Zuckerberg​ went live on Facebook and shared a series of actions that the world’s largest social network plans to take on election integrity. You can watch him in the status embedded below.

As Zuckerberg said, Facebook is giving 3,000 Russia-linked ads to the Congressional committees currently investigating election interference.

he third commitment Zuckerberg made is particularly of note to Sunlight:

“3. Going forward — and perhaps the most important step we’re taking — we’re going to make political advertising more transparent. When someone buys political ads on TV or other media, they’re required by law to disclose who paid for them. But you still don’t know if you’re seeing the same messages as everyone else. So we’re going to bring Facebook to an even higher standard of transparency. Not only will you have to disclose which page paid for an ad, but we will also make it so you can visit an advertiser’s page and see the ads they’re currently running to any audience on Facebook. We will roll this out over the coming months, and we will work with others to create a new standard for transparency in online political ads.”

We’re glad that Facebook is listening, but voluntary action in the face of public upset and a series of commitments in the future in the face of government action in DC isn’t enough. The FEC and Congress should act on regulatory and legislative reforms that mandate disclosure of a public political ad file from technology companies.

“Facebook took an important step forward, but that a single company has this kind of power shows clearly that we urgently need legal reforms to mandate disclosure online,” said John Wonderlich​.

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