BALTIMORE: Maryland has become the first state in the United States to pass a bill to regulate political advertisements on social media sites including Facebook and Twitter.
The bill, approved by the General Assembly on Thursday, will be sent to Maryland governor to be passed, following which it will become a law. The bill requires social media platforms to track all the political ads and also record users being targeted, according to a report published in a local daily The Baltimore Sun.
The state election officials can use the data to track any foreign or domestic interference in the elections, the report said.
Facebook, which has faced a backlash following revelations that data from millions of its users was leaked to digital consultants during 2016 US presidential campaign, welcomed the legislation. “The company helped draft the Maryland legislation and looks forward to implementing it,” the paper quoted Facebook Vice President Will Castleberry as saying.
“We believe this bill will be a national model for the other 49 states to follow,” he was quoted as saying in a statement.
The legislation will apply to the political ads placed on Google platforms, Twitter, Facebook and on any other site, with at least 100,000 unique monthly visitors, the report said.
It will apply to both the campaign and issue ads. It, however, will be applicable to only local and state contests and not to congressional or presidential races, the paper said.
The legislation will also empower Maryland Board of Elections to investigate how campaigns and advocacy groups use social media to target voters.