A decision made by the FEC on Thursday could have far-reaching implications for digital creative in cycles to come. The Commission’s rule change on disclaimers of digital ads has been a decade in the making, and will require campaigns, when it doesn’t fill up to more than 25 percent of the space, to add a digital disclaimer to their ad creative.
“It’s not going to be every ad that’s going to require these, but the full-blown Facebook ad that somebody puts out, or the Instagram Story post is going to have to have some form of disclaimer on it,” Trey Trainor, a Republican commissioner, told C&E.
Part of the reason why this rule change has taken so long (read: more than a decade) is because technology has been outpacing the deliberations of the FEC. So the Commission had to ponder its decision as technology changed rapidly in the outside world.
“We want this to be something that we don’t have to constantly come back and constantly revisit,” Trainor said.
Still, the Commission is open to hearing from practitioners about novel ways to implement the new requirement.
“I would urge consultants, and those out there … if they come up with something new — this Commission has been really good at answering advisory opinion requests in a [timely] manner,” he said.
And don’t consider the new rule changes a tool to hammer a political opponent for failing to disclose, Trainor added. “My hope is that it doesn’t get weaponized, but we’ll probably see a few complaints come through.” Those complaints likely won’t prompt a heavy-handed response from the FEC.
“There’s really not an appetite for, at least on the Republican side of the aisle, major enforcement actions on this,” he said. “At the end of the day, it’s just what type of advertising group you’re using and if they’re professional enough. The good advertising firms and the people that are professionals in the political world are going to be doing it anyways.”