Wired: Why Facebook Will Struggle to Regulate Political Ads

Facebook asked the Federal Election Commission to exempt it from rules requiring political advertisers to disclose who's paying for an ad. Political ads on TV and radio must include such disclosures. But Facebook argued that its ads should be regulated as "small items," similar to bumper stickers, which don’t require disclosures. The FEC ended up deadlocked on the issue, and the question of how to handle digital ads has languished for six years.


The illustration for the billboard showed a sparkling new yellow-brick wall, marked with a sign reading “U.S. Border.” It was guarded at night by two Pepe frogs dressed as Donald Trump, pointing their guns at anyone who attempts to cross their path. The caption, which appeared next to a smiling crescent moon wearing sunglasses, read ominously, “It’s always darkest before the Don…”

The billboard didn't have to mention its funders—many of whom were anonymous. 

“That would not fall under campaign finance law,” explains Brendan Fischer, director of Federal Election Commission reform at the Campaign Legal Center. “It doesn’t include any expressed advocacy, saying to vote for or against a candidate.”

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