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Social media has become an important tool in political campaigns. (Bigstock Photo)

Facebook and Google have asked for more time to respond to the Seattle Ethics and Elections Commission mandate that the companies comply with a city law governing political ads, according to The Stranger.

The law requires anyone selling advertising related to local elections to disclose data on the ads, including who paid for them. In response to The Stranger’s reporting, the commission sent letters to Google and Facebook demanding they provide that data for ads sold during 2017 Seattle election by Jan. 2.

Each company asked for an additional 30 days, which the commission granted, provided they use the time to prepare to comply with the law. A Google attorney told the commission it would use the extension to make a good-faith effort to provide the information mandated by law. Facebook was more vague, asking for an extension to craft a response to the commission’s letter.

Seattle’s efforts to bring more transparency to political ads on social media mirror an attempt at the federal level called the “Honest Ads Act.” If approved by Congress, the law would hold online political advertisements to the same standards governing traditional media.

Social media has become an important tool for political campaigns but regulators have not caught up to the new technology, creating a Wild West effect.

Related: Deadline 2020: Regulators need to catch up to social media propaganda by the next big election

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