“Paid for by…”
We have become so accustomed to hearing that phrase at the end of a political ad on TV or radio and seeing it on print ads that something feels missing without it.
Yet that information is not required on social media posts. It is not that it was never discussed. In 2011 Mark Zuckerberg sought an exception to political ad disclaimer regulations due to space constraints. At the time Facebook posts were limited to 160 characters. The information packed memes and photos that jam our feeds today hadn’t developed yet. It was a request worth considering at the time.
The FEC did consider it and was split 3-3. A tie equals no ruling. So the question of whether or not political ads should be required to provide sponsorship information lay dormant as the space on social media platforms expanded and expanded.
Today a Facebook post allows tens of thousands of characters. Photos and videos are now the top content shared via social media. There is room to include sponsorship information.
If the content you are seeing on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, YouTube, Instagram, LinkedIn or any other social media site has been put there with campaign ad dollars you have a right to know.
The Honest Ads Act is a bill requiring sponsorship information be included in paid political ads posted to social media. Read the bill and contact your legislators.