Filed Under: Tech

Meta fined $24.7M for 800+ campaign finance disclosure violations

By ,

A Washington state judge fined Meta nearly $25 million, the maximum allowed for more than 800 campaign finance disclosure violations the company was ruled to have committed. The fine is believed to be the largest campaign finance penalty in U.S. history.

“I have one word for Facebook’s conduct in this case — arrogance,” Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson said in a statement. “It intentionally disregarded Washington’s election transparency laws.”

Under Washington’s Fair Campaign Practices Act, ad sellers such as Meta are required to keep and make public the names and addresses of those who buy political ads, the target of such ads, how the ads were paid for and the total number of views of each ad. Ad sellers must also provide the information to anyone who asks for it.

Television stations and newspapers have complied with the law for decades. However, Meta objected to the requirements in court, arguing that the law is unconstitutional because it “unduly burdens political speech” and is “virtually impossible to fully comply with.”

“That’s breathtaking. Where’s the corporate responsibility,” Ferguson asked in his statement. “I urge Facebook to come to its senses, accept responsibility, apologize for its conduct and comply with the law. If Facebook refuses to do this, we will beat them again in court.”

Facebook, which is owned by Meta, does keep an archive of political ads that run on the platform. However, the archive does not disclose all the information required under Washington’s law.

This is not the first time Ferguson has sued Meta over campaign finance disclosure violations. After the first lawsuit back in 2018, the former Facebook, Inc. agreed to pay $238,000 and committed to transparency in campaign finance and political advertising. The company then said it would stop selling political ads in the state rather than comply with the requirements.

The fine over campaign finance disclosure violations comes as Meta is going through a challenging time financially. Shares of the company sank 20% Thursday after its costly metaverse bets and the impact of soaring inflation on ad spending concerned investors. Meta itself has lost over half a trillion dollars in market value this year.

The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.

THE PARENT COMPANY OF FACEBOOK IS BEING FINED FOR 25 MILLION DOLLARS OVER DISCLOSURE LAWS REGARDING CAMPAIGN FINANCES.
IN THE STATE OF WASHINGTON…THEY REQUIRE CERTAIN CAMPAIGN ADVERTISEMENT INFORMATION BE READILY AVAILABLE FOR THE PUBLIC’S REVIEW.
BUT THE JUDGE WHO SLAPPED META WITH THE HEFTY FINE SAYS THAT LAW HAS BEEN VIOLATED.
THE WASHINGTON LAW IN QUESTION IS THE FAIR CAMPAIGN PRACTICES ACT.
IT REQUIRES ANY PLATFORM THAT SELLS ADS TO MAKE PUBLIC THE NAMES AND ADDRESSES OF THEIR CUSTOMERS BUYING ADVERTISEMENTS.
THEY ALSO HAVE TO SAY WHO THE POLITICAL ADS ARE TARGETING.
AND WHO PAID FOR SUCH ADVERTISEMENTS.
META IS ALSO REQUIRED TO COLLECT DATA ON HOW MANY VIEWS EACH AD RECEIVES.
IT’S NOT THE FIRST TIME FACEBOOK HAS CROSSED LEGAL PATHS WITH THIS CAMPAIGN FINANCE LAW.
IN 2018 THEY WERE SUED…AND HAD TO PAY A 238 THOUSAND DOLLAR FINE.
A DROP IN THE BUCKET TO ITS LATEST FINE OF 25 MILLION.
IT’S THE HEFTIEST PENALTY OF IT’S KIND IN THE COUNTRY’S HISTORY.
META PREVIOUSLY ARGUED THE LAW IS UNCONSTITUTIONAL.
META IS BEING FOLLOWED BY A DARK CLOUD RIGHT NOW.
IT’S PROFITS DROPPED 50 PERCENT IN ITS THIRD QUARTER…TRIGGERING A 65 BILLION DOLLAR DROP IN META’S MARKET VALUE THIS WEEK.

Media Landscape

more +

55 Other sources covering this story

Bias Distribution

L 22%
C 59%
R 20%

59% of the sources are Center

Powered by Ground News™


A Washington state judge fined Meta nearly $25 million, the maximum allowed for more than 800 campaign finance disclosure violations the company was ruled to have committed. The fine is believed to be the largest campaign finance penalty in U.S. history.

“I have one word for Facebook’s conduct in this case — arrogance,” Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson said in a statement. “It intentionally disregarded Washington’s election transparency laws.”

Under Washington’s Fair Campaign Practices Act, ad sellers such as Meta are required to keep and make public the names and addresses of those who buy political ads, the target of such ads, how the ads were paid for and the total number of views of each ad. Ad sellers must also provide the information to anyone who asks for it.

Television stations and newspapers have complied with the law for decades. However, Meta objected to the requirements in court, arguing that the law is unconstitutional because it “unduly burdens political speech” and is “virtually impossible to fully comply with.”

“That’s breathtaking. Where’s the corporate responsibility,” Ferguson asked in his statement. “I urge Facebook to come to its senses, accept responsibility, apologize for its conduct and comply with the law. If Facebook refuses to do this, we will beat them again in court.”

Facebook, which is owned by Meta, does keep an archive of political ads that run on the platform. However, the archive does not disclose all the information required under Washington’s law.

This is not the first time Ferguson has sued Meta over campaign finance disclosure violations. After the first lawsuit back in 2018, the former Facebook, Inc. agreed to pay $238,000 and committed to transparency in campaign finance and political advertising. The company then said it would stop selling political ads in the state rather than comply with the requirements.

The fine over campaign finance disclosure violations comes as Meta is going through a challenging time financially. Shares of the company sank 20% Thursday after its costly metaverse bets and the impact of soaring inflation on ad spending concerned investors. Meta itself has lost over half a trillion dollars in market value this year.

The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.


Get unbiased straight facts, context, and perspective!