FEC Seeks Comment on 'Net Ad Disclaimers

In the wake of revelations about Russia buying political ads on Facebook during the 2016 presidential campaign, the Federal Election Commission has reopened the comment period on the need for revising requirements for disclaimers on political communications placed for a fee on another person's website.

The commission voted Thursday, Sept. 14 to open the comment period for 30 additional days following a request by Commissioner Ellen Weintraub that the issue be placed on the agenda for the meeting.

"It is imperative that we update the Federal Election Commission's regulations to ensure that the American People know who is paying for the internet political communications they see," she said in a Sept. 7 letter requesting the agenda item. "Given the revelations of the past few days regarding the secret purchase of thousands of internet political ads by foreign actors...there can no longer reasonably be any doubt that we need to revise and modernize our internet disclaimer regulations."

The FEC initially sought comment on the issue way back in 2011.

Weintraub also wants the committee to hold a hearing on the issue and invite Facebook, Google and Twitter.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.