FEC rules for political ads on social media may not be ready for midterms: report

FEC rules for political ads on social media may not be ready for midterms: report
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Requirements for social media companies to disclose who is behind political ads on their platforms are unlikely to go into effect prior to this year’s midterm elections, the Federal Election Commission (FEC) said Thursday. 

“The commission has been reluctant to change the rules of the game in the middle of the election season, so that would be something we would want to seriously consider,” FEC Chairwoman Caroline Hunter told reporters. 

The Washington Post reported that the commission on Thursday delayed a scheduled vote on proposed new rules because of ongoing disagreement over dueling Republican and Democratic proposals.

Instead, commissioners will meet next week to present a single proposal. They will then begin a public comment process, which Hunter said will take “a little bit of time.” 

The six-member commission has two vacancies. Hunter, the chairwoman, is a Republican.

After congressional hearings where representatives from Facebook, Twitter and Google faced questions on how Russians used their platforms to promote fake stories and political propaganda, some lawmakers have pressed for tighter disclosure requirements.

Facebook, Twitter and Google have said they support bringing more transparency to the digital ad process, but declined to support legislation introduced last year by Sen. Amy KlobucharAmy Jean KlobucharSenate Commerce presses Facebook, Cambridge Analytic for answers on data Overnight Tech: Facebook faces crisis over Cambridge Analytica data | Lawmakers demand answers | What to watch for next | Day one of AT&T's merger trial | Self-driving Uber car kills pedestrian Overnight Cybersecurity: Trump-linked data firm Cambridge Analytica attracts scrutiny | House passes cyber response team bill | What to know about Russian cyberattacks on energy grid MORE (D-Minn.) intended to do so.

Google then said in November that it would support the FEC implementing new disclosure rules for online political ads, adding that online platforms could use clearer regulations.