In the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, we've pledged to make all of our digital ads public.
The internet and social media can be a tremendous force for bringing people together, for commerce, for innovation, and for freedom. At the State Department, I helped lead our efforts to defend freedom of speech and privacy online. But the more our lives revolve around the internet, the more urgent it becomes to address questions about who controls and how to safeguard our personal data, about the protection of our children, and the security of our democracy. It’s time to start a conversation about the responsibilities the big technology companies have on these questions, and what role government should play to make sure they’re resolved in the public interest.
One problem that became clear in the last election is that it is far too easy for foreign adversaries like Russia and political campaigns in the United States to spread dishonest propaganda through social media with no transparency or accountability – only those targeted by political ads see them, and no one else has a chance to push back.
I support the bipartisan Honest Ads Act recently introduced in the US Senate, which would require online companies to keep a public file of political ads and who purchased them. This would not threaten freedom of speech online – anyone could still say whatever they want. It would simply treat political advertising on the internet as we already treat such advertising on television. Until the bill passes, I will maintain my own public file of any online ads my campaign buys, so that everyone can see what I’m saying to the voters. I challenge my opponent, Congressman Leonard Lance, to make the same pledge.