If you plan to perform digital online advertising this election season, be prepared for new changes in transparency and disclosure.
Digital advertising is growth industry. According to the Campaign Legal Center, $1.4 billion dollars were spent on digital ads in 2016, up from just $159.8 million in 2012. While political ads on television require a ‘paid for’ disclaimer, this rule does not currently apply to online ads.
Until now, web advertising in the political realm has been pretty much a free-for-all. That is starting to change as influence of online advertising grows. With recent problems, the face of political digital advertising may need a complete overhaul.
Facebook cracks down
Following the 3,000 Russia-linked political ads that appeared during the 2016 U.S. presidential election, Facebook hopes to curb ad bots and trolls going forward.
Digital transparency goes local
in the absence of Federal action, states and localities have made moves to increase advertising transparency. Both Seattle and Washington state’s campaign finance laws now require disclosure of those providing political ads and the amount of money paid for them.
What does this mean for local campaigns?
Other legislative requirements may be on the way. On a Federal level, the Honest Ads Act proposes that online advertising be regulated similarly to print, radio and television. This would require more transparency from Facebook, Twitter and Google about who is paying for political advertisements on their platforms.
Whether new laws pass or not, you can count on social media platforms requiring more information from political advertisers in 2018 and beyond.
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