Federal election regulators told a political group Thursday that its Facebook ads must include disclaimers showing who paid for them, wading into the debate on social-media advertising as the government grapples with revelations about Russian use of the platforms in last year's election.
But, on a unanimous vote, the Federal Election Commission (FEC) made it clear that its action applied narrowly, and it still planned to work on broader rules governing digital advertising next year.
"This was a small step forward today," Ellen Weintraub, a longtime Democratic member of the commission, said after the vote. "Hopefully, we'll be able to take a slightly larger step forward when we get to the rule-making."
The commission's vote Thursday clarified that Take Back Action Fund, a political group associated with Republican political consultant John Pudner, must include disclaimers on its proposed Facebook image and video ads that call for the election or defeat of candidates.
But the legal opinion approved by commissioners warned that only an organization engaged in political activity "indistinguishable" from that planned by Pudner's group should rely on the guidance approved Thursday.