UK Election Watchdog Urges to Make Online Political Ads More Transparent

© REUTERS / Russell Boyce/IllustrationPostal voting papers for the UK general election, which took place June 8, 2017, are seen in this illustration picture
Postal voting papers for the UK general election, which took place June 8, 2017, are seen in this illustration picture - Sputnik International
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LONDON (Sputnik) - The UK Electoral Commission said in a report released on Tuesday that the country's authorities and social media companies must take "urgent" action to increase transparency of online political advertising after a series of revelations involving Cambridge Analytica political consultancy firm.

"Each of the UK’s governments and legislatures should change the law so that digital material must have an imprint saying who is behind the campaign and who created it," the commission's report on digital campaigning read.

The electoral watchdog also urged social media companies to enhance their policies on advertising and campaign material for UK elections and referendums.

"UK election and referendum adverts on social media platforms should be labelled to make the source clear. Their online databases of political adverts should follow the UK’s rules for elections and referendums," the report noted.

READ MORE: No Junk Food Ads Before 9PM: New UK Reform to Stop Childhood Obesity

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The commission also recommended the UK authorities to make sure that foreign funding is not being used to influence UK elections and referendums, asking to increase the maximum fine for breaching the rules.

The UK parliament's Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee has been looking into the scandal around Cambridge Analytica and the company's potential links to Brexit referendum. Also, it was revealed in March that the firm harvested personal information of some 50 million Facebook users without their permission to target them with political advertising.

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