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Russian-Bought Ads on Facebook Spur Lawmakers to Call for Tighter Rules

Facebook Inc. FB +2.34% is suddenly in the crosshairs of lawmakers pushing to crack down on exemptions that allow social-media companies to operate beyond the norms of political campaigns.

Congressional leaders and other groups are starting to discuss legislation that would require social-media companies to create a public disclosure portal of political ads shown on their platforms, similar to the requirements of television and radio stations. The increased scrutiny follows Facebook’s disclosure in September that Russian entities spent a total of $150,000 to buy more than 5,200 ads with divisive political messages during the U.S. presidential campaign.

Separately, Democrats are pushing the Federal Election Commission to create new rules that would curb the ability of foreigners to spend money on political advertising.

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