SACRAMENTO, CA -- After rising national concerns about the
lack of disclosure on political ads on social media and
other online platforms, California will again lead the way
to greater transparency with the launch of AB 2188, the
Social Media DISCLOSE Act, authored by Speaker pro Tem
AB 2188 expands on AB 249, the California DISCLOSE Act,
passed last year, which was authored by Assemblymember
Mullin and sponsored by the California Clean Money
Campaign. AB 249 requires television, radio, and print ads
about ballot measures, and independent expenditures about
candidates, to clearly list their top 3 funders, using
nation-leading earmarking rules to show the true funders
even if they try to hide behind front groups. It also
applies to electronic media ads, but advertisers can't show
required disclosures on social media ads without changes
from the social media platforms themselves.
"Although AB 249 gave California the strongest campaign
finance disclosure law in the country, it may not have been
clear that social media platforms are included in last
year's legislation," Mullin said. "Since voters
are inundated by political messages and advertising on so
many fronts, AB 2188 will build on the improvements
provided with AB 249 by extending those requirements to
social media. I look forward to working with the California
Clean Money Campaign and other good government groups on
this important legislation."
An estimated $1.4 billion was spent on online political
advertising nationally in 2016 according to Borrell
Associates, an astounding 789% increase from 2012, with
about 40% of it spent on social media ads. Virtually none
of them disclosed who paid for them, including $100,000 in
Facebook ads by Russian entities. The federal Honest Ads
Act, sponsored by Senator Amy Klobuchar and co-sponsored by
Senator John McCain, was introduced in response to this
threat, but it's stuck in Congress.
Like the federal bill, AB 2188 requires Facebook, Google,
Twitter, and other online platforms to keep a publicly
accessible database of political ads and to require that
ads show who paid for them. AB 2188 specifically requires
online platforms to display "Who funded this ad?" on each
political ad, linking to the page of the paying committee.
Unlike the federal bill, AB 2188 will leverage last year's
California DISCLOSE Act, now law, by requiring the paying
committee page to clearly list its top 3 true funders.
"We are thrilled to be working with Speaker pro Tem
Kevin Mullin on the Social Media DISCLOSE Act to build on
our historic victory passing the California DISCLOSE Act
together last year", said Trent Lange, President of
the California Clean Money Campaign. "The huge
grassroots movement of Californians who worked to pass AB
249 will be with him every step of the way to ensure that
its nation-leading disclosure is extended to political ads
on social media and other online platforms."
DISCLOSE is an acronym for Democracy is Strengthened by
Casting Light on Spending in Elections.
The California Clean Money Campaign is a non-partisan
501(c)(3) organization that has been dedicated to educating
the public about the need to lessen the unfair influence of
Big Money on election campaigns since 2001. For further
information, visit www.CAclean.org.