NEWS17 March 2020

Online political ads should show who paid for them, says Law Commission

Legal Media News Public Sector UK

UK – The Law Commission has called for digital political adverts to be ‘imprinted’ to show who has paid for the ad.

Online political ads laptop_crop

Electoral laws are “out-dated, confusing and no longer fit for purpose,” the Law Commission said as it published its series of recommendations to improve the effectiveness of electoral law.

The review is aimed at rationalising the current laws around elections into a single legislative framework with consistent electoral laws across elections.

As part of the recommendations, it said online campaign material should include digital imprints that inform audiences who has paid for the ad.  This is already the case for leaflets and traditional adverts, and should also apply to social media ads, the Commission said.

The lack of alignment in regulation of printed and online ads in terms of labelling was viewed as ‘unsatisfactory’, according to the review.

The way in which election campaigns are conducted has changed since the review began in 2014, the Electoral Law report said. “This has given rise to concerns about transparency of the sources of advertising material, and the methods by which it is targeted at individual voters.”