MapLight: FEC's New Facebook Ruling Requires Ad Sharing Info Yet Gives Reformers Little to Like
A December Federal Election Commission ruling will require Facebook ads to let internet users know which organizations are behind election advertisements -- but won’t do much to let them know who actually paid for the ads. Last month, the five members of the commission ruled that election ads on Facebook must contain disclaimers revealing who paid for them. The decision occurred in the wake of revelations that Russian groups used the social network to boost Donald Trump’s successful 2016 presidential campaign.
“The fact that advertisers can micro-target viewers means that certain ads may never be seen by the broader public and that raises a number of problems,” said Brendan Fischer, an associate counsel at the Washington-based Campaign Legal Center, a nonprofit watchdog. “The lack of transparency makes it harder to track the contours of any influence campaign and it also makes it harder to hold candidates and their supporters accountable for statements made, because they are essentially being made in secret.”