A large Democratic digital firm is weighing into the debate over online advertising regulation as Washington continues mulling ways to improve transparency.
Senate and House lawmakers are circulating drafts of legislation that would place new disclosure requirements on companies like Facebook, Twitter and Google. Meanwhile, the FEC has restarted the regulatory process for rules governing digital advertising, and has been seeking input from ad buyers and other industry experts.
Earlier this week Bully Pulpit Interactive offered its recommendations to regulators and ad platforms, which include expanded reporting requirements by campaigns. They are:
- Entity Verification: For political advertisers, it is important that the companies behind online advertising platforms verify the legal organizational identity of the end client (not just the advertising agency).
- Enhanced Ad Disclosure: Implement a new disclosure icon that is visible alongside every political ad run online and allows people to see critical information about the sponsor including a) legal disclaimer and b) short description of the organization’s purpose.
- Centralized Reporting: Ad platforms should publicly house all of the creative being served by an advertiser in one central place. Additionally, we recommend that campaigns be required to disclose total digital ad spend by month and eventually by week.
- Stop Use of Bots that Impersonate Voters: Fake social accounts run by bots that attempt to mimic the appearance of actual voters inherently undermine the principle of thoughtful disagreement in our democracy which stems from voters speaking to one another. Campaigns should not be allowed to use bots without clear disclosure.
The company added that it “believes that the adoption of these initial guidelines is both achievable and will have a dramatic effect in restoring confidence in political communications around elections.”
Moreover, BPI has created a website “to educate both industry and regulators about the online political ad market and offer recommendations of how to address concerns.”