Will Florida dispute set precedent for political advertising on the Web?

08/3/2009 | Wall Street Journal, The

The mayoral race in St. Petersburg, Fla., may set a precedent for how politicians advertise on such sites as Google, Facebook and Twitter, this article says. Florida's elections commission has decided that a mayoral candidate's ads on Google and Facebook appear to be in violation of state law because they do not list who paid for them. The politician's campaign has responded by saying that the units are merely links to ads, not ads themselves, and thus don't require such disclosure. "It becomes a de facto restriction on political speech on search engines and things like Twitter and Facebook," said Mike Zaneis, VP of public policy for the IAB, in discussing the Florida situation. "It really becomes a scary precedent."

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