By Suzy Khimm
The Klobuchar-Warner bill has elicited criticism from some free-speech advocates, including a former Republican FEC commissioner, who argue that the legislation would have an adverse impact on political speech by ordinary Americans, subjecting small grass-roots groups to burdensome reporting requirements and legal liability.
Policy experts also question how the bill would actually work. Daphne Keller of the Stanford Center for Internet and Society pointed to the challenges of determining whether an ad buyer is a foreign entity, particularly if buyers rely on outside vendors to purchase ads.
“Nobody knows how to figure out who counts as Russian,” she said. “It seems extremely easy to hide your identity.”
But supporters say that the bill’s narrow focus – and the coming 2018 and 2020 elections – could give it a shot at passage…
In late October, shortly before testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Facebook officials unveiled new changes that would require political advertisers to verify their identity and include new disclosures in election ads. On Wednesday, the company announced a new tool that would let users see if they had engaged with content created by certain Russian propagandists.