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Dem senator: Online ad market needs to crack down on misinformation

Dem senator: Online ad market needs to crack down on misinformation
© Greg Nash

The top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee on Wednesday said the digital ad market was helping incentivize the spread of misinformation and abusive content on online platforms.

In a speech, Sen. Mark WarnerMark Robert WarnerLawmakers worry about rise of fake video technology Mueller indictment reveals sophisticated Russian manipulation effort GOP cautious, Dems strident in reaction to new indictments MORE (D-Va.) noted that YouTube discovered in recent months that some disturbing content aimed at children was also collecting ad revenue.

“The perverse incentives in the digital advertising marketplace can, I believe, have a perverse impact, particularly on kids,” he said.

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Warner said the government and private sector need to jointly figure out how to prevent people from abusing platforms to tap into ad revenue.

“The platform companies need to dramatically step up their game as well and commit more resources to identifying bad actors and bad practices,” he said.

Warner has been critical of social media companies during the Intelligence panel's investigation into Russia’s alleged political influence operations within the U.S. He also noted on Wednesday that the online advertising marketplace gave Russia an efficient way to sabotage domestic politics.

“This weaponization of misinformation remains a serious unresolved national security threat — and it showed a tremendous bang for the buck,” Warner said.