“Deliver transparency in online political advertising now”

Freeze unregulated online political ads during the referendum campaign
Freeze unregulated online political ads during the referendum campaign

Senator Alice-Mary Higgins links with US legislators to increase pressure on Facebook for rollout of new transparency tools in time for May Referendum.

Senator Alice Mary Higgins yesterday indicated her support for an initiative from Transparency Referendum Initiative, a non-aligned Irish civil society group, who are calling on US Senators attending a Washington DC hearing with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerburg to press for transparency in Facebook’s political advertising during Ireland’s forthcoming referendum. 

Zuckerberg will appear before a joint hearing of the U.S. Senate Judiciary and Commerce committees this afternoon to provide the committees with information about how the data of approximately 87 million Facebook users may have been improperly used by commercial companies paid to influence voters and the outcome of the U.S. Presidential elections. 

Speaking today Senator Higgins said “I have spoken to a number of US Senators attending today’s hearing and asked them to press Facebook to deliver clarity and transparency around who is paying for online political advertisements in the run up to May 25th. I believe legislators on both sides of the Atlantic need to cooperate closely to ensure far greater transparency and accountability in online political advertising.”
“Facebook have indicated their plans to rollout new transparency measures in advance of the Mexican elections in June. I, and many others, believe they need to roll these measures out right now.  The referendum on the eighth amendment should not become another bad example of inappropriate intervention in the political process but should instead be a test case for new and better standards.”
“I am concerned at the current lack of regulatory oversight of political advertising on social media in Ireland given what we now know in relation to the role such advertising played in the Brexit and Trump campaigns. Myself and other Senators and TDs have put forward legislative proposals to tackle some of these issues. However in the immediate term, social media platforms including Facebook, Google and Twitter must accelerate their delivery of transparency and accountability tools around online political campaigning.”
The letter to US Senators from the Transparency Referendum Initiative can be viewed here

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