Facebook seeks US election law exemptions

Facebook website is displayed on a laptop computer (AFP Photo / Justin Sullivan)
The social media giant is asking the Federal Election Commission to exempt the company from rules which require political campaign ads disclose who paid for them.

Facebook argued, in a written request to the FEC, that their ads are unique and their small nature and design limits full disclosure possibilities. The company’s lawyers point out “With some mediums … – e.g. bumper stickers, buttons, pens, T-shirts, concert tickets, and text messages – it is inconvenient or impracticable to include a disclaimer.”

In an effort to keep ads less obstructive to users Facebook keeps their ads small and limited in text. The company claimed it did not want to compromise user experience by making ads larger and feared that an inability to provide disclosures would unfairly penalize campaign advertisers.

Facebook gives a wide range of candidates and causes a voice where they would otherwise not be able to afford one through more traditional political advertising,” Facebook spokesperson Andrew Noyes told POLITICO. “We encourage the FEC to consider these benefits and other fundamental differences between some online ad formats and newspaper and TV advertising.”

The Facebook request comes after the FEC ruled in 2010 that Google ads would not be required to display full disclosures.

Meanwhile Facebook often falls under criticism for data breaches and a lack of transparency. Recently it became a target of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

Facebook in particular is the most appalling spying machine that has ever been invented. Here we have the world’s most comprehensive database about people, their relationships, their names, their addresses, their locations and the communications with each other, their relatives, all sitting within the United States, all accessible to US intelligence,” said Assange in an interview with RT. “Everyone should understand that when they add their friends to Facebook, they are doing free work for United States intelligence agencies in building this database for them.”