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The Federal Election Commission last week approved a final rule setting out the sponsorship disclaimer requirements for political advertising. The Commission’s Internet Immunity Rules have not changed since 2006, leaving advertisers and platforms of political advertising uncertain about how the rules apply to evolving technology.FEC A review is underway and seeking public comment on whether additional rules are needed to regulate social media influencers, boosted advertising, and other forms of digital advertising.
Modernization of technology. The rules approved this week incorporate the changes we first wrote in 2018.
website It also applies to paid advertising through other digital platforms such as social media, mobile apps and streaming sites. This modernizes the rules to accommodate new technologies and is consistent with what has become common practice across major social media platforms and online advertising networks.
Format standards for digital advertising disclaimers. The adopted regulations also specify new standards for how disclaimers must be formatted in Internet-based advertising. Historically, online advertising disclaimers were simply required to be “clear and conspicuous,” leaving considerable room for interpretation. The new rules clarify format requirements for digital advertising and bring existing requirements for print, radio and television communications into line with their Internet-based counterparts. For example, disclaimers in paid online video ads (such as those shown on television) should be clearly readable by the recipient of the ad without action, and should have a reasonable amount of space between the background and the disclaimer text. Color contrast should be used and visible. for at least 4 seconds. However, the Commission clarified that the requirement that candidates identify themselves and approve messages (the so-called Standby Her Your Advertising Requirement) applies only to television and radio advertising.
Omission of the small advertising disclaimer.A disclaimer should usually include the name of the person who paid for the ad. A person’s phone number, address, or URL. A statement, if applicable, whether the correspondence was approved by the candidate or by the candidate’s committee. However, recognizing that online ad formats vary widely and may have size and character limitations, the new rules will not allow you to provide a full disclaimer if you are unable to provide a full disclaimer, or if your ad represents more than 25% of your ad. allows alternative “adapted disclaimers”. An “adapted disclaimer” requires only the identification of the person who paid for the communication by a commonly understood abbreviation or acronym, and links or other mechanisms leading the viewer directly to the full disclaimer Accompanied by This should be a welcome relief to advertisers using small digital ads and those selling those platforms. Notably, the committee chose not to specify how his 25% is measured (i.e. pixels, seconds, characters, etc.), so the rules can remain flexible as new technologies are developed.
Issues still under consideration
The rulemaking did not mark the end of the FEC’s consideration of digital political advertising. The committee next asked for public comment on whether the disclaimer was necessary in three specific circumstances.
- social media influencers or other persons who are paid to create or generate content that contains explicit endorsements or solicitations for donations on third-party websites, mobile apps, digital devices, or advertising platforms; if it appears. This seems to cover situations where there are production costs but no payment. Arrangement Advertisements, such as ads placed for free on YouTube or an influencer’s social media account;
- Payments made directly to a website, digital device, mobile app, or advertising platform to “boost” content with explicit endorsements or solicitations for donations to increase distribution or visibility of the content.When
- To republish content that contains explicit endorsements or to increase distribution or visibility of that content on a third-party website, digital device, mobile app, or advertising platform If you receive a reward for
A final note: Many states and local governments impose their own rules for political advertising related to non-federal elections or issues. These rules vary widely by jurisdiction, and many are broader than the FEC rules approved last week.
* We would like to thank Maxwell Weiss, Associate in Venable’s Washington, DC office, for writing this article.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide on the subject. You should seek professional advice for your particular situation.
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