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New legislation would require social media disclosure

Monday, Oct 30, 2017

* The synopsis of SB2251, sponsored by Sens. Ira Silverstein and Andy Manar

Amends the Election Code. Provides that the disclosure requirements for political communications shall also apply to any political committee, organized under the Code, making a political communication utilizing any social media platform.

* Silverstein press release

Political ads on social media platforms would be regulated to disclose their sources and funders if a new measure sponsored by Senator Ira I. Silverstein (D-Chicago) becomes law.

Senate Bill 2251 was filed this week and would extend the same requirements for disclosure regarding print, TV and radio advertising to social media political ads.

“Social media is immediate and far-reaching,” Silverstein said. “Just because it is new media doesn’t mean it shouldn’t fall under the same requirements for existing media in terms of disclosing who funded, prepared and distributed the material. Voters deserve to know what organizations are behind all political ads.”

Attention to online political ads has grown in recent months after Facebook admitted that accounts connected to Russia purchased politically contentious ads ahead of the 2016 presidential election. An estimated $100,000 purchase targeted audiences in swing states with no disclosure about the sources of those ads.

“A recent Facebook ad falsely attacked an Illinois Senate colleague with no clear means of pursuing the source,” Silverstein said. “The laws must apply to online ads as they do everywhere else to keep our elections fair.”

Senate Bill 2251 awaits assignment to a Senate committee before moving to the full chamber for consideration.

* Bernie

A dispute that broke out on Facebook in recent weeks involving the Christian County GOP and state Sen. ANDY MANAR, D-Bunker Hill, has helped lead to some new proposed state legislation.

State Sen. IRA SILVERSTEIN, D-Chicago, said Senate Bill 2251, introduced last week with Manar as a co-sponsor, would require the same kind of disclosure for advertisements on social media sites as are now required for television, radio or newspaper ads if a political committee pays and names a candidate. […]

The proposed new state law would add “any social media platform” to categories such as pamphlets, radio, TV or print ads that require disclosure. That law already includes “Internet … communication,” but Silverstein and Manar want to make sure social media is covered.

“We always welcome any kind of clarification from the legislature,” said TOM NEWMAN, director of campaign disclosure at the State Board of Elections. “It might be covered under the existing statute, but if they want to make sure it’s covered, we’re all for that.”

* One issue I’ve been noticing online is that fundraising appeals aren’t including this state mandated language

10 ILCS 5/9-9) (from Ch. 46, par. 9-9)
Sec. 9-9. Any political committee shall include on all literature and advertisements soliciting funds the following notice:
“A copy of our report filed with the State Board of Elections is (or will be) available on the Board’s official website (insert the current website address) or for purchase from the State Board of Elections, Springfield, Illinois.”

- Posted by Rich Miller        

12 Comments
  1. - Iggy - Monday, Oct 30, 17 @ 9:39 am:

    Typical from Thin skin Manar. He blocked me on twitter even though I have never tweeted at him or about him. But because I am a follower of the parody account “Randy Manar” I got the block. Maybe you should introduce a bill that bans elected officials from blocking their constituents, you know since we are basing legislation off of childish arguments.


  2. - We'll See - Monday, Oct 30, 17 @ 9:59 am:

    I, Rusty Shackleford, think this is a good idea.


  3. - Chicago Cynic - Monday, Oct 30, 17 @ 10:03 am:

    So we need to use 40 of our 140 characters for a disclosure statement? Wonder if Ira’s ever seen Twitter.


  4. - The Captain - Monday, Oct 30, 17 @ 10:10 am:

    Practically speaking how do you fit a disclosure into a 140 character limit?


  5. - Rich Miller - Monday, Oct 30, 17 @ 10:10 am:

    ===Practically speaking how do you fit a disclosure into a 140 character limit?===

    With an image.


  6. - Name Withheld - Monday, Oct 30, 17 @ 10:11 am:

    How does this stop online ads that are factually wrong? Does it require online ads to follow the same rules as ads on radio/TV/etc?


  7. - Rich Miller - Monday, Oct 30, 17 @ 10:11 am:

    For example: https://capitolfax.com/wp-content/ScreenShot20170928at12.17.31PM.jpg

    Plenty of room on that image for disclosure.


  8. - Not me - Monday, Oct 30, 17 @ 10:20 am:

    A good idea. Necessary.

    I assumed this was already the law. Fines should be assessed not only on any political committee who violates it but on the social media company. Newspapers vet ads for compliance. FaceCrook should do the same. Make them criminally liable then see how quickly they respond.


  9. - Truth Squad - Monday, Oct 30, 17 @ 10:23 am:

    When the ad is sponsored, Facebook and Twitter automatically say so. Like in Rich’s example.

    I have no problem with dropping a “Paid For by” on the bottom of an image ad or Google Display ad, but Andy is just being a baby.


  10. - Anonymous - Monday, Oct 30, 17 @ 10:39 am:

    Looks like the statute already applies to the Internet. What am I missing?


  11. - Mama - Monday, Oct 30, 17 @ 2:39 pm:

    This is a good idea. However, fundraising appeals should be included.


  12. - anon - Tuesday, Oct 31, 17 @ 7:40 am:

    ==One issue I’ve been noticing online is that fundraising appeals aren’t including this state mandated language…==

    Using Rich’s example of a Dan Biss Facebook ad…
    https://capitolfax.com/wp-content/ScreenShot20170928at12.17.31PM.jpg

    (A) Facebook doesn’t allow words in advert pictures… From experience, even pics of yard signs get rejected due to the words on the signs.

    (B) The state required text is incredibly long for a character- or word-limited ad. Perhaps the lege can consider shortening it or Facebook, etc. can create a line for a state-required hotlink going straight to the committee’s disclosures at elections.illinois.gov.

    Maybe turn the “Not affiliated with Facebook” into “Political Ad. Paid for by X. Click here for Campaign Report.”


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