Seattle officials say Facebook violated city laws that require anyone selling advertising related to local elections to disclose data on the ads, including who paid for them.
The Seattle Ethics and Elections Commission sent letters to Google and Facebook demanding they provide that data for ads sold during 2017 Seattle election.
The Stranger reported Monday that the commission said Facebook’s response “doesn’t come close to meeting their public obligation.” It will discuss next steps with the City Attorney’s office. Google asked for a deadline extension.
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. Facebook came under heavy scrutiny for its impact on the 2016 presidential election.