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VOL. 42 | NO. 15 | Friday, April 13, 2018

Social media ad disclosure bill fails

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NASHVILLE (AP) — A Tennessee bill that would require the disclosure of who paid for political ads on social media websites such as Twitter and Facebook is likely dead for the year after failing to get enough votes in the House on Monday.

The state Senate passed the measure last month. However, the bill couldn't get the support of a majority of members of the House. The main sponsors of the legislation were Jason Powell and Jeff Yarbro, both Democrats from Nashville. The House voted 43-33. An additional 14 members were present but didn't vote. There was little debate before the vote, so it's not clear why House members rejected the measure.

The bill would have required the disclosure on the ad itself, at another linked site or on the profile page of the social media platform.

The failure of the bill in Tennessee comes a week after Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg faced a two-day grilling by members of Congress about a range of controversies, including how Russians used the platform to meddle in the U.S. presidential election.

Yarbro has pointed to a federal indictment charging 13 Russians with running a social media campaign engineered in part to help get Donald Trump elected president. The indictment mentions a Twitter account made to resemble the Tennessee Republican Party that attracted more than 100,000 followers. The real Tennessee Republican Party had long criticized the account and repeatedly asked Twitter to take it down.

Yarbro has said Tennessee law currently implicitly requires disclosure for social media, but the bill would have made it explicit.

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