Spanberger, Katko Urge House to Crack Down on Foreign-Backed Disinformation in Elections

January 22, 2021 by Dan McCue
Spanberger, Katko Urge House to Crack Down on Foreign-Backed Disinformation in Elections
Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks at the annual meeting of the Valdai Discussion Club via video conference at the Novo-Ogaryovo residence outside Moscow, Russia. (Alexei Druzhinin, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)

WASHINGTON – Reps. Abigail Spanberger, D-Va., and John Katko, R-N.Y., are urging their House colleagues to support bipartisan legislation aimed at protecting the U.S. from foreign-based disinformation campaigns.

According to the lawmakers, foreign governments took advantage of the COVID-19 pandemic and the 2020 election to carry out their plan to infiltrate and influence public discourse.

Spanberger and Katko go on to say that Russia, China and Iran were among those most active in these efforts.

Under the Foreign Agents Registration Act, which they reintroduced Friday, political ads, issue advocacy, and content funded or directed by a foreign principal and intended to influence the U.S. government or the American people must be disclosed to the Department of Justice before their dissemination.

However, under current statute and practice, this often does not extend to social media. Additionally, foreign agents acting from abroad too often evade disclaimer requirements. 

The Foreign Agent Disclaimer Enhancement Act reintroduced by Spanberger and Katko on Friday, would increase transparency by requiring disclaimers attributing political content to a foreign principal be embedded on the face of a social media post itself.

With this new requirement, disclaimers would remain with a post whenever the post is subsequently shared. The FADE Act would also clarify that these disclaimer requirements apply to the internet and apply to any political communications directed at the United States — regardless of the foreign agent’s location around the world.

“The United States must be on guard against those who seek to sow division and spread false information,” Spangerger said. “Disclaimers on misleading, foreign-backed social media posts are often non-existent, particularly when content is shared or linked. In these instances, social media works as a rumor mill for disinformation.”

“By requiring foreign disclaimers within the actual content of social media posts, we can make sure the public knows the origins of information — and we can strengthen our democracy for the better,” she said.

“Our nation’s enemies have used social media as a vehicle to deploy disinformation and interfere in our elections. With this in mind, I’m joining Rep. Spanberger in introducing the Foreign Agent Disclaimer Enhancement (FADE) Act,” Katko said. 

“This legislation would establish enforceable tools to ensure visible disclaimers are included in political posts from foreign agents. I urge my colleagues to support this measure to increase transparency, reduce the spread of disinformation, and protect our democratic processes from foreign influence,” he said.

To ensure enforcement of these new transparency measures, the FADE Act would require DOJ to notify online platforms if a foreign agent does not meet disclaimer requirements for posts on their platforms, and in these cases, require the platform to remove the materials and use reasonable efforts to inform recipients of the materials that the information they saw was disseminated by a foreign agent.

Additionally, the bipartisan bill would require DOJ to prepare a report to Congress on enforcement challenges.

 The FADE Act is endorsed by the Campaign Legal Center and Issue One.

Click here to read the full bill text.

A+
a-
  • Abigail Spanberger
  • bipartisan
  • China
  • disinformation
  • elections
  • Iran
  • John Katko
  • Russia
  • In The News

    Health

    Voting

    Congress

    Bob Good Hopes Final Vote Count Will Put Him Ahead of Trump-Endorsed Challenger

    RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Conservative U.S. Rep. Bob Good, R-Va., is asking for “patience from the people of the 5th... Read More

    RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Conservative U.S. Rep. Bob Good, R-Va., is asking for “patience from the people of the 5th District over the coming weeks” as he hopes the final ballot count from Tuesday's primary will allow him to fend off a challenger endorsed by former... Read More

    June 17, 2024
    by Tom Ramstack
    Congresswoman Wants AG Garland Arrested for Contempt

    WASHINGTON — A member of Congress said Sunday she wants to use a rarely invoked legal authority to compel the... Read More

    WASHINGTON — A member of Congress said Sunday she wants to use a rarely invoked legal authority to compel the arrest of U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland for contempt. The House voted last week to hold Garland in contempt of Congress for failing to turn over... Read More

    Surgeon General Asks Congress to Require Warning Labels for Social Media, Like Those on Cigarettes

    The U.S. surgeon general has called on Congress to require warning labels on social media platforms similar to those now mandatory... Read More

    The U.S. surgeon general has called on Congress to require warning labels on social media platforms similar to those now mandatory on cigarette boxes. In a Monday opinion piece in the The New York Times, Dr. Vivek Murthy said that social media is a contributing factor in... Read More

    June 14, 2024
    by Tom Ramstack
    Congressional Bill Would Prevent Student Athletes Being Employees

    WASHINGTON — A U.S. House committee approved a bill Thursday that would prevent student athletes from being categorized as employees... Read More

    WASHINGTON — A U.S. House committee approved a bill Thursday that would prevent student athletes from being categorized as employees of their universities. A National Labor Relations Board judge ruled in February that student athletes were university employees, thereby allowing them to earn salaries and to... Read More

    June 14, 2024
    by Dan McCue
    GOP Wins Fourth Straight Congressional Baseball Game

    WASHINGTON — The Republicans soundly defeated their Democratic colleagues in the annual Congressional Baseball Game Wednesday night, the final score... Read More

    WASHINGTON — The Republicans soundly defeated their Democratic colleagues in the annual Congressional Baseball Game Wednesday night, the final score being 31-11. The number that really mattered, however, was the record $2.2 million the game raised for local charities. Next up is the 16th annual Congressional... Read More

    June 13, 2024
    by Tom Ramstack
    Democrats Criticize Chief Justice for Supreme Court Ethics Enforcement

    WASHINGTON — Congressional Democrats criticized the Supreme Court's chief justice Thursday for failing to enforce ethics standards on the court... Read More

    WASHINGTON — Congressional Democrats criticized the Supreme Court's chief justice Thursday for failing to enforce ethics standards on the court as they consider a proposal to intervene. Lawmakers were discussing a Senate Judiciary Committee bill to impose a new code of ethics on the Supreme Court.... Read More

    News From The Well
    scroll top