CNN:Facebook sought exception from political ad disclaimer rules in 2011

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced last week that the social network would begin voluntarily requiring disclaimers on political ads that appear on the site. But in 2011 Facebook went to federal regulators to get an exception from a rule that would have forced it to do the same thing.


Trevor Potter, a former Republican FEC chairman who is now president of the Campaign Legal Center, a group that advocates for campaign finance law reform, said in a statement after Zuckerberg's announcement that Facebook had "pressured the FEC not to extend existing disclaimer requirements to online political ads, which helped create the secrecy that gave rise to foreign interference in the 2016 elections."


Lawrence Noble, a former FEC general counsel who is now also with the Campaign Legal Center and a CNN contributor, said that under the existing law, the onus is ultimately on campaigns, not the social media platforms, to ensure digital ads comply with federal disclaimer rules.

Noble said Facebook and Google likely sought exceptions "because they want to be able to sell these ads. If the FEC required something that the platforms didn't make available to advertisers, then they wouldn't be able to place the ad."

"However you would hope that the platform would facilitate any disclaimer requirements and would want people to know about the regulations as they placed an ad," he said.

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