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Democrats Ask FEC To Create New Rules To Keep Foreign Influence Off Social Media Ads (thehill.com) 195

Cristina Marcos reports via The Hill: Democratic lawmakers on Wednesday asked the Federal Election Commission (FEC) to establish new guidelines for online advertising platforms that would prevent foreign spending to influence U.S. elections. The move comes after Facebook provided information to Congress and special counsel Robert Mueller, who is leading the FBI's investigation into Russia's election interference, about Russian ad purchases during the 2016 campaign.

"The recent revelations that foreign nationals with suspected ties to the Russian government sought to influence the 2016 election through social media advertisements are deeply concerning and demand a response," 20 House and Senate Democrats wrote in the letter. "We are fast approaching the 2018 election cycle. As such, it is imperative the Federal Election Commission begin this effort in earnest," they wrote. CNN, which first reported on the Democrats' letter, cited Facebook sources saying they expect Congress may try to require disclaimers on online political ads in the future, similar to political television ads. The Democratic lawmakers suggested that any FEC guidance address how foreign actors can use corporate or nonprofit designations to avoid disclosing political spending; what advertisement platforms can do to prevent foreign campaign activity; and possible changes to disclosure standards for political advertisements.

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Democrats Ask FEC To Create New Rules To Keep Foreign Influence Off Social Media Ads

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  • Too bad.... (Score:1, Insightful)

    They don't also wan't to keep that influence out of our ballot boxes... and Across our Borders.
    • Re:Too bad.... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by elrous0 ( 869638 ) on Wednesday September 20, 2017 @10:32PM (#55236031)

      They're happy to invite in any immigrant who they think will vote Democrat. But heaven forbid a Russian conservative buy an ad.

      • Re:Too bad.... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 20, 2017 @10:38PM (#55236051)

        The Democrats don't seem to have a problem with the millions of dollars Hillary Clinton took from foreign governments.

        • Re: Too bad.... (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          Just as they have no problem with the 'hate speech' or violence from their own supporters.

        • ...and Obama sent money to an NGO to interfere in Israel's election in order to hurt Benjamin Netanyahu.
      • Re:Too bad.... (Score:5, Informative)

        by PopeRatzo ( 965947 ) on Wednesday September 20, 2017 @11:05PM (#55236149) Journal

        But heaven forbid a Russian conservative buy an ad.

        You know it's illegal for a foreign national to buy campaign ads in the US, right? Has been for a while now. For 45 years, to be exact. FECA was signed into law in 1972, by Richard M. Nixon.

        • but, let me guess, it's totally OK for a foreign national to make a donation to a super-pac, right?
          • Re:Too bad.... (Score:4, Informative)

            by PopeRatzo ( 965947 ) on Wednesday September 20, 2017 @11:22PM (#55236215) Journal

            but, let me guess, it's totally OK for a foreign national to make a donation to a super-pac, right?

            No, it's against the law. Unfortunately, Congress has never implemented the disclosure laws that the Supreme Court insisted upon with their Citizens United decision. It's a fucked up situation all around, and there's been zero will from the Republican-controlled Congress to do anything about how easy it is to game our elections with money.

            • Here's a piece by the former vice-chair of the FEC: How the FEC Turned a Blind Eye to Foreign Meddling [politico.com]

              I warned that Vladimir Putin could meddle in our elections nearly three years ago ...

              I suggested to the commission that the FEC consult with internet and tech experts to discuss how the agencyâ(TM)s current approach may or may not fit with future innovations. Starting this conversation should have been noncontroversial, especially at an agency whose very mission is to inform the public about the sourc

            • by Anonymous Coward

              Here we have Clinton, who asked the Ukraine for dirt on Trump during the election.
              Clinton who lied under oath 7 times provably, and had her husband interfere with an investigation.
              Clinton took on the order of $150 million in bribes from Russia while running the state department.
              Clinton who literally rigged a national primary for the DNC to win it because she couldn't beat Sanders.

              And you complain about Republicans and elections? You are quite possibly the dumbest person on /. these days, and that is includ

        • Thank goodness you you included his middle initial or I wouldn't have known which Richard Nixon you were referring to :)
        • by hey! ( 33014 )

          I am actually open to the suggestion that foreigners should be able to influence US elections; but only provided that it is done transparently. If Russia wants to make an argument that America should vote for candidate X, fine by me, as long as the message prominently informs readers of its source, e.g. "This message was funded in part by the Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation."

          In fact I think this is a good idea all around. In an era where so much information is being delivered by the we

          • I am actually open to the suggestion that foreigners should be able to influence US elections; but only provided that it is done transparently.

            That's worthy of discussion. As long as every dollar that goes into American politics is directly attributable to a human being (not a corporation!). And I mean every dollar. No more pretending that there is some difference between ads that talk about issues with ads that talk about candidates. There should be disclosure of all political money, period. Give me t

    • The game designer I knew (not that well) back in Austin?

  • Hahaha (Score:2, Insightful)

    by rsilvergun ( 571051 )
    No.
  • by VeryFluffyBunny ( 5037285 ) on Wednesday September 20, 2017 @10:35PM (#55236035)
    And how much influence do foreign owned corporations exert in the US election cycle through their unlimited and unaccountable spending on party political advertising and campaigning. Then there's the issue of such corporations' influence over law-making through lobbying. Fake news and hacking political parties email accounts are the least of the US's worries in this respect.
  • Ever notice.... (Score:5, Informative)

    by Chris Katko ( 2923353 ) on Wednesday September 20, 2017 @10:52PM (#55236101)

    ...how these discussions and articles and pundents never mention... China... in the list of foreign influences on the USA?

    It's not like China has ever directly involved themselves in our elections before...

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org] ... shit.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Or Israel.

    • That's 'cuz most of the outrage trolls posting here are funded by China. Probably a lot of the more extreme "social justice" hypocrites are Chinese backed as well. I quite admire it really - it's excellent social destabilization propaganda.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Of course, nobody gives a shit about AIPAC or Saudi Arabia.

  • by PopeRatzo ( 965947 ) on Wednesday September 20, 2017 @11:11PM (#55236179) Journal

    It's been illegal for foreign nationals to purchase campaign ads for US elections since 1972. It's even illegal to sell campaign ads to foreign nationals (putting Facebook in some jeopardy in the event the Justice Department decides to enforce the law).

    The letter from Dems to the FEC is a request for information from the commission explaining how they're going to meet this legal obligation in regard to social media advertising.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 20, 2017 @11:41PM (#55236273)

      And yet George Soros has done it for the past 12 years. But that's ok because the money is laundered through the political committees.

      Let's not even get into the Clinton foundation that essentially took international bribes for US policy in all but name.

      And, I can't help but point out, once again you're just spewing DNC talking points. It's illegal for foreign nationals to advertise for political candidates. It is NOT illegal for foreign nationals to advertise for issues. Otherwise CAIR and the ADL leaders would have to be thrown in prison.

      Facebook advertised for the Russians - WHAT advertising remains to be revealed.

      Damn that pesky first amendment that you now loathe so much.

      And Hillary would've gotten away with it too if it weren't for those pesky Russians.

      • Damn that pesky first amendment that you now loathe so much.

        Are you advocating for civil rights for foreign nationals? Does that extend to illegal immigrants?

      • And yet George Soros has done it for the past 12 years.

        George Soros is a US citizen
    • by Antique Geekmeister ( 740220 ) on Thursday September 21, 2017 @01:22AM (#55236571)

      Foreign election interference has gone both ways, on several axes. The USA has certainly intervened in many foreign elections, as they have in ours, since the founding of the USA. Public statements of concern about or support for one candidate or another have been traditional, at many levels of public and private announcement. So has foreign support of election monitoring, to help ensure a fair election, both by the US and on several occasions of USA elections.

    • by houghi ( 78078 )

      You are aware that you can influence people without buying ads for campaigns directly, right? Just post "But her emails" several million times and people will start to think it is relevant.
      Say many times "We have already won" and people won't even bother to vote.

      All you need to do is fool some of the people some of the time.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        I understand that you people are pissed that you spent hundreds of millions on a losing candidate. If you did not live in a bubble, sheltered from the rest of the country, maybe you could have made more intelligent investments.

        • by nomadic ( 141991 )

          Haha, first, the majority of voters voted for the Democrat.

          Second, the "bubble" exists in deep red states in the South and midwest. Have YOU ever tried to step out of your bubble? And maybe understand why most of the country voted against Trump?

  • Like some sort of "Cyber wall"?

  • Remember when Nancy Pelosi tried to control talk radio [infowars.com] because it wasn't delivering the message she wanted?

    This is the same thing - Democrats whining about media they don't control

  • by Anonymous Coward

    The US has been interfering with foreign elections for over 60 years. Even a Liberal rag admits it: http://www.latimes.com/nation/la-na-us-intervention-foreign-elections-20161213-story.html

    Democrats are pissed for having their dirty laundry aired, as if they felt that only Republicans should have their's aired. The facts remain that all of the leaked emails and social ads were merely revealing the truth about how crooked the DNC had become.

  • If it wasn't good then the US wouldn't be interfering in the elections of other countries so often.

  • If only illegal immigrants counted as a foreign influence to Democrats. Make no mistake, both parties sell you down the river, they just sell you to slightly different parties and word it differently though the net result is much the same.
  • Just as soon as they also outlaw out-of-state contributions to local elections. National parties like the DNC and GOP shouldn't be allowed to contribute to local elections at all. Someone from a neighbouring city shouldn't be allowed to contribute to my local mayoral election. Where does it end?

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