A lobbying group representing some of the biggest names in tech filed an open letter to the Federal Election Commission (FEC) Tuesday advising the agency not to implement regulations on political advertisements in the same way as radio or TV.
“[Internet Association]’s recommended approach is to allow for more flexibility given the variety of ways that internet content is consumed and to preserve the ability of the IA’s members to innovate and to allow users of those platforms to innovate,” wrote Michael Beckerman, president and CEO of the Internet Association (IA).
The FEC announced on March 14 it is considering plans to add a disclaimer to political advertisements on the internet in the same way that voters would see and hear on the TV or radio — with the disclaimer coming at the end of the ad.
The problem with placing the disclaimer at the end, Beckerman wrote in the letter, is that “users may not even watch an entire online advertisement” and “[e]ven if a user views or listens to the entire ad, he or she could switch it off before the disclaimer is read at the end of the ad.”
Instead, the lobby group suggested a “simpler” option. “[R]equire internet ads to include a one-click away disclaimer or a disclaimer within the frame of the ad itself. Hovering over a video, clicking text below the video, or providing a full print disclaimer below the ad would all provide more robust transparency than burying a disclaimer at the end of a web video,” IA advised.
IA represents tech giants such as Facebook, Amazon, Google, Microsoft, Snapchat, and Twitter. (RELATED: Facebook Adds Transparency Measures For Political Advertisements)
Facebook announced in a blog post on May 24 that it will label election-related and issue ads on its site with a “paid for by” disclaimer that will include information about who sponsored the ad.
“For example, the campaign budget associated with an individual ad and how many people saw it – including their age, location and gender,” Rob Leathern, Facebook’s director of product management, wrote in the blog. “People visiting the archive can see and search ads with political or issue content an advertiser has run in the US for up to seven years.”
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