As promised, big changes have appeared in the political online advertising realm. To provide greater transparency and to curb foreign influence over elections, several online services are instituting changes. Some have already gone into effect, with more on the way.
Here is a quick primer of what has gone into effect as of the end of May, 2018.
Facebook is now requiring US users who are running election-related, referendum or issue ads to provide personal information about themselves. Users who want to buy political ads will also have to verify their mailing address. Any ads that mention a political candidate will have to adhere to these rules. And ads that qualify will have a “paid for by” tag and will be placed in a political ad archive.
Twitter will require advertisers running political campaign ads for federal elections to identify themselves and certify they are located in the U.S. A visual badge and disclaimer information will appear on promoted content from certified accounts. This will allow users to easily identify political ads, know who paid for them, and whether the ad was authorized by a candidate. Candidates and committees must provide Federal Election Commission identification. Non-FEC registered organizations will have to submit a notarized form.
Google is rolling out changes as well. Starting this summer, Google will require any individual or organization that wants to purchase an election ad on Google or YouTube to provide information confirming that they are a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident. Google will also require all election ads to display a disclosure that identifies who has paid for the ad.
What does this mean for your campaign?
Campaign advertising just became more complicated, especially if you are running for federal office. If you are planning on running online ads across these platforms, we recommend that you create your profiles and certify your campaign on these platforms early. Start early, as it may take days or even weeks for your organization to be certified. If you wait, you may not be able to run ads when you need them.
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