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Facebook ‘moving ahead’ with ad regulation before scheduled Congressional testimony this week

Ahead of scheduled testimony before Congress this week, Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced plans Friday to require people running political ads on the social network to verify their location and identity. This is an expansion of new plans introduced earlier that would require verification for advertising directly related to elections.

Zuckerberg is specifically endorsing the Honest Ads Act, a bipartisan bill sponsored by Senators Mark Warner, D-Va., Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., and John McCain, R-Ariz., that promotes regulation of online political advertising by companies like Facebook and Google. The act was proposed in October 2017 as a response to the revelations regarding Russian purchases of political ads during the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

“Election interference is a problem that’s bigger than any one platform, and that’s why we support the Honest Ads Act,” Zuckerberg wrote in a Facebook post Friday.

In an interview with PBS NewsHour on Thursday, Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg said she welcomed additional regulation, telling Judy Woodruff that Facebook was “moving ahead” with regulating its platform:

“The most likely regulation in the United States is the Honest Ads Act. It may or may not pass. We’ve already built the tool, it’s live in Canada. It will be live in the U.S. before the election and what it means is that anyone can look at any page on Facebook and see all the ads they’re running. And for election ads, you’ll be able to see how much was spent, who paid for it and the demographics.”

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