Google and Facebook under pressure after helping anti-refugee campaign

Yolanda Curtis
October 19, 2017

The company's ad guidelines prohibit anything that incites "hatred against, promotes discrimination of, or disparages an individual or group on the basis of their race or ethnic origin, disability, age, nationality, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, or other characteristic that is associated with systemic discrimination or marginalization".

This report comes after it was discovered that Russian Federation bought some 3,000 ads and cut Facebook a cheque for over $100,000 during the 2016 election.


"Online ads are the fuel that powers the unlimited expressions and presentations of free speech on the open internet", says Dave Grimaldi, executive VP of public policy for the Interactive Advertising Bureau. The new rules would bring disclosure rules more in line with how political ads are regulated in mediums like print and TV, and apply to any platform with more than 50 million monthly viewers. And their measure, in short, would require tech giants for the first time to make copies of political ads - and information about the audience the ads targeted - available for public inspection.

"I'm sure early on, in the early days of Facebook and Google, there weren't a lot of these paid political ads".


Republicans control the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, so bills generally need Republican support to advance.

Warner, of Virginia, said McCain's backing is "big", adding that he hopes social media companies will sign on to what he calls "light touch" regulation, given how Russians used their networks. The House Intelligence Committee has said it plans on publicly releasing the ads. "This threat to democracy is with us now", he said. Warner is the ranking member of the Senate Intelligence Committee. Republican Senator James Lankford of Oklahoma said in an interview he is working on his own proposal, and Democrat Ron Wyden of OR has pressed voting machine companies for information on their security practices.


"What we really owe the American people is determination" to do "everything we can" to defend against threats and foreign interference, Sandberg said. Whitehouse has introduced a bill requiring disclosure of owners, co-sponsored by Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley, an Iowa Republican. Facebook and Google, for their part, are faced with a conundrum in that political campaigns provide a massive source of revenue but one they must approach carefully to avoid appearing to favor one side of the spectrum.

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