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Facebook now calls itself “Meta Platforms.” They have been found in violation of Washington State campaign finance laws, and will face large fines imposed by a state court this week. For some reason, this story just made me roar with laughter. Here is a description of the state law they were found violating. Italics mine.
Washington’s transparency law, passed by voters about 50 years ago, requires ad sellers such as Meta to disclose the names and addresses of those who buy political ads, the target of such ads and the total number of views of each ad. Ad sellers must provide the information to anyone who asks for it.
Now, if I’m not mistaken, there was no Internet 50 years ago. Could the drafters of that law have foreseen the invention of the online ad business, where ads are bought and sold every second of every day, on billions of websites? Of course not! I have to side with Meta on this, and agree with them that the old law is simply impossible for any online company to comply with. But will our intrepid Attorney General ask the Legislature to update the law? My guess is no. This is a very interesting situation, and I wonder how Meta will get out of it.Published in