Facebook’s Bid for an Exception - State and Federal Communications

June 16, 2011  •  

Facebook’s Bid for an Exception

FEC Advisory OpinionAt a meeting yesterday, the Federal Election Commission discussed Facebook’s request for a waiver from being required to have disclaimer statements revealing who paid for political ads that appear on its social network.

According to the FEC site, “The Commission discussed and voted on two draft Advisory Opinions but did not reach consensus on either draft. In its request, Facebook asked whether its small, character-limited ads qualify for the ‘small items’ or ‘impracticable’ exceptions from the disclaimer requirements of the Act and Commission regulations.”

According to the FEC, an “impracticable exception does not apply to Facebook’s ads” because Facebook determines the size of the ads itself and is not limited in space by the medium. The commission says there are technological solutions for providing the necessary disclaimers. Citing the California Fair Political Practices Commission‘s regulations regarding ads, the FEC said the solution may be found by using “roll-over displays,” placing disclaimers on landing pages, or by “other technological means.”

The Hill reported today on the issue in: “Both parties back Facebook’s request for waiver on campaign ads” by Gautham Nagesh. As the article points out, “Facebook will continue to sell ads to candidates and campaigns and … [c]andidates such as President Obama have already begun running campaign ads on the ubiquitous social network.”

Here is the FEC page with links to the advisory opinion drafts.

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