Online political ads have come under the microscope following the 2016 U.S. presidential election which is said to have been influenced by a massive Russian misinformation campaign on social networking websites such as Facebook. As Facebook and other online networks take additional steps to ensure that something like this doesn’t happen again, states like New York are going one step further and now making it mandatory for online political ads for New York elections to disclose who paid for them.
Gov. Cuomo of New York signed the bill into law today mandating that online political ads in New York elections disclose who is footing the bill. The new law is a response to Russia’s misinformation campaign to influence the U.S. presidential election.
Under this law, ads on platforms including Facebook, Google, and Twitter will have to include a line which indicates clearly who paid for the ads to be run. It’s the same way that TV and radio ads have long disclosed their source of funding as well. Not only that, websites will also be barred from selling political ads to foreign entities.
This New York law also makes it mandatory for digital ad buyers to register as independent expenditure committees and online ads by independent spenders will now have to include a line which says that the ad’s content was not approved by any candidate. The law covers online ads related to state and local elections, it even includes promoted tweets.