Rep. Lori Trahan (D-MA)
The Social Media DATA Act requires large online platforms that sell digital ads to create an ad library accessible to academic researchers and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). This library will include detailed information about each ad, including: the legal name and unique identification number of the advertiser; the targeting method(s); the optimization objective; a description of both the targeted audience and the audience that viewed the ad; the budgeted amount and the amount that was actually spent for purchasing the ad; and the interactions users had with the ad. The bill also directs the FTC to implement additional guidelines regarding when an advertisement should be added to the library, how long the information should remain available, and what should be done with ads that were deleted by the platform.
Additionally, the bill instructs the FTC to create a “Working Group for Social Media Research Access” composed of social media researchers, privacy advocates, civil rights advocates, representatives from social media companies, and other relevant stakeholders. This working group will be tasked with two assignments:
– Provide inputs on what information should be made available to researchers and how researchers should handle it to preserve both academic independence and consumers’ rights to privacy. On this basis, the FTC will publish a Best Practices and Code of Conduct Report.
– Formulate policy recommendations regarding academic access to social media data and send that subsequent report to Congress.
Decode Democracy supports the bill as outlined in a statement by Ann Ravel, our Policy Director and former Chair of the Federal Election Commission.