Briefing

International grand committee agrees to push political advertising disclosure rules

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Representatives from eight parliaments agreed there’s a need for “full transparency regarding the source, targeting methodology and levels of all funding” for political ads, without banning them altogether. They also recommended a moratorium on micro-targeting ads that contain false information. Canadian MPs did not attend the group’s third meeting, since the House of Commons has been dissolved; the grand committee previously met in Ottawa in May. (The Logic)

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Talking point: Tech companies have raised concerns about how to differentiate true and false information. Monika Bickert, head of global policy management and counterterrorism at Facebook—which has been criticized for not taking down political ads containing lies—told the committee the company should not be the “truth police for the entire world.” Canada already has a political-ad registry requirement during elections. “A comprehensive and transparent system … has to be the starting point, rather than getting into the weeds of assessing what’s true and what’s false and how we police political actors,” Liberal MP Nathaniel Erskine-Smith, a member of previous grand committees, told The Logic. Canada’s system could be strengthened to ensure the sources of funding for political ads is clear, he said. Platforms may choose to stop accepting political ads altogether rather than comply with individual countries’ rules, as Google did during this year’s Canadian federal election campaign. Erskine-Smith said cooperation among smaller countries on “very similar” requirements makes it more likely that large platforms will “seek to comply with our rules and … participate in our elections.”