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Google wants new rules for online political ads

Google wants new rules for online political ads
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Google said on Thursday that it would support the Federal Election Commission (FEC) implementing new disclosure rules for online political ads.

In a filing submitted to the FEC, the internet giant argued that advertisers and online platforms could use clearer regulations for what information needs to be disclosed on political ads and what types of ads qualify for the disclosures.

“While the majority of advertisers placing election-related ads on Google now self-impose some form of disclaimer on their ads, advertisers still lack the much needed regulatory framework that will let them know whether the disclaimers they’re using on today’s ads meet the Commission’s requirements,” the filing reads.

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Lawmakers and regulators are examining how to make online political advertising more transparent after Google, Twitter and Facebook all admitted to selling political ads to Russian actors trying to sway the outcome of last year’s presidential election.

In order to assuage the concerns of Congress and preempt any tough regulation, the companies have all announced reforms in order to make it clear who’s funding political advertisements.

Google touted these changes in its filing on Thursday, noting that political advertisements would not only disclose their funding source but also which users it's targeting.

Google and other internet companies lobbied against the FEC implementing tougher rules in 2011, after the search engine was granted an exemption from rules that were already in place, arguing that the limited space allotted for such ads made disclosures difficult.

On Thursday, Google asked the FEC to keep such space constraints in mind when crafting new rules. The company also pushed the commission to consider the various types of different ads in play online and how the system has changed since regulators last examined the issue.

“The types and varieties of digital advertisements that political advertisers create and place throughout the web has grown exponentially since 2011 when the Commission last considered how its disclaimer rules apply to digital communications,” the filing reads.