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CA impact: Maryland becomes first US state to pass law to regulate Facebook political ads

By Shubham

In the wake of the Cambridge Analytica (CA) data leak controversy that rocked the world, Maryland became the first state of the United States to initiate a regulation of political ads on Facebook and other social media websites.

According to a report in Baltimore Sun, a bill approved by the state's legislature on Thursday, April 5, would need the social media platforms to keep a track on all political ads, keep their copes as evidence and also record the nature of the users being targeted. The state election officials would be able to use the data to trace actors with suspicious motives and foreign interference, if there is any, said the report.

CA impact: Maryland becomes first US state to pass law to regulate Facebook political ads

Encouraged by the development in Maryland, Facebook sources said they would hope the state's legislation become a national model for the social media to expose those who were paying for political advertising, the report added.

The law in Maryland would also need the social media platforms and newspapers to fast update the public about the buyers of the advertisements, their target beneficiaries and the amount of money that was spent.

Facebook was against regulation but then played a role in passing the legislation which it now supports. Less than a day after the Maryland legislature passed the legislation, Facebook too came up with a new national policy which requires those who push political ads to verify their identities.

The social media giant came up with this policy ahead of its chief executive Mark Zuckerburg's meeting with the Congress on April 10 and 11 to explain his company's position on the massive data breach.

Facebook's vice president for state policy Will Castleberry even said that the company contributed in drafting the Maryland bill and also looked forward towards its implementation, the Baltimore Sun report said. Castleberry said he hoped that the other 49 states of the US would follow the way shown by Maryland.

Facebook has been on the docks after revelations that data of millions of users were exposed to digital brains who used them to help President Donald Trump's election campaign in 2016 as well as influencing the Brexit referendums in the UK and elections in India and other countries.

Special Counsel Robert Mueller accused Russian individuals and organisations of misusing Facebook and other social media platforms to interfere in the American presidential election.

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