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NY Legislators call for crack-down on social media anonymous political ads

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Several state lawmakers are going face-to-face with Facebook over anonymous political ads.

At a press conference Monday, they called on the legislature to include a measure in the final budget that would prevent such ads on social media.

Back in September of 2017, Facebook disclosed to federal investigators it sold 100-thousand-dollars worth of ads to an international buyer to influence the national election.

Now lawmakers here in New York say they want the law to require social media ads to disclose who paid for them here.

New York lawmakers say when you see an ad on television, law requires they disclose who is paying for it.

But Long Island State Senator Todd Kaminsky says there’s a loophole in state law, where that doesn’t apply to some form of ads, like social media, and that we must change that.

“We know today social media plays a tremendous role in our lives and in our political campaigns,” said Kaminsky.

He says and that not knowing who is putting them there, is undermining democracy right in New York state.

“As elected officials we have to stand by our record. But when false ads come out, and there is no recourse, it’s a sad day in our democracy and that’s what has been going on,” said Kaminsky.

He has a bill with Assemblyman James Skoufis, who represents Orange and Rockland counties. He says he’s been a victim, that some people think these ads are paid for by not for profit agencies.

“These ads are malicious, they are false and people can’t determine the motivation behind the ad,” said Skoufis.

He says he’s filed a complaint with the State Board of Elections, which is looking into anonymous ads. But these lawmakers also want something achieved in this budget.

Governor Cuomo has proposed online ads follow the same guidelines on radio and TV and wants to hold social media platforms responsible for keeping a public file.

In September, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerburg said they were going to make political advertising more transparent, even to a higher standard than seen on TV.

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