Date
17 October 2018
Washington's Attorney General Bob Ferguson has launched lawsuits against Facebook and Google, accusing them of breaking state law in relation to disclosure of information on political advertising. Photo: Bloomberg
Washington's Attorney General Bob Ferguson has launched lawsuits against Facebook and Google, accusing them of breaking state law in relation to disclosure of information on political advertising. Photo: Bloomberg

Washington state sues Facebook, Google over poll ad disclosure

Washington’s attorney general has sued Facebook and Google for alleged violation of state campaign finance law in relation to providing information about political advertising.

The attorney general, Bob Ferguson, said on Monday that he is seeking penalties against the firms and an injunction for failing to disclose ad spending in state elections since 2013, Reuters reports.

Ferguson said his office received a citizen complaint in April alleging that Facebook and Google had not provided legally required information on political ads.

Unlike most US jurisdictions, both Washington state and the city of Seattle have laws dating to the 1970s that require companies that sell advertising to disclose who buys political ads, Reuters noted.

Other states put the burden of disclosure on the buyers themselves.

Facebook said it looks forward to resolving the lawsuit quickly after it recently introduced tools for people to see who is buying political ads on its social network.

Facebook and Google have faced criticism from lawmakers, users and advocates for campaign finance regulation for their role in selling political ads after Russians allegedly used fake names to buy ads to sway American voters around the 2016 US presidential election.

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