FEC Approves Rules for Internet Disclaimers - State and Federal Communications

December 2, 2022  •  

FEC Approves Rules for Internet Disclaimers

FEC; Photo: Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call

On December 1, the Federal Election Commission (FEC) formally approved a Final Rule and Explanation and Justification revising its disclaimer requirements for certain public communications placed for a fee on the internet. The FEC stated it is adopting these updates to the regulatory rules “in light of technological advances since the Commission last revised its rules governing internet disclaimers in 2006, and to address questions from the public about the application of those rules to internet communications,” according to the memorandum submitted with the approved draft.

By amending 11 CFR  §110.11, the regulations will require that disclaimers appear on certain public communications made over the internet. Some communications will be permitted to include an “adapted disclaimer” when a full disclaimer cannot be provided or would occupy more than 25 percent of the communication due to space or character constraints. The final rule also revises the definition of “public communication.” The term now includes  “communications placed for a fee on another person’s website, digital device, application, or advertising platform.”

The FEC also approved another measure seeking comments on whether its definition of “public communication” or “internet public communications” should also include internet communications that are “promoted for a fee” on another person’s website, digital device, application, or advertising platform. The Supplemental Notice will be published in the Federal Register at a future date. The goal of these proposals is to apply the Federal Election Campaign Act’s disclaimer requirements to general public political advertising on the internet and to revise the definition of “public communication” to clarify how it applies to such advertising.

The FEC must now transmit the approved regulations to the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the President of the Senate for a thirty-legislative-day review period.

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