Twitter received nearly $200,000 for hosting campaign ads between 2012 and 2019 but did not disclose that information to Washington’s Public Disclosure Transparency Account in violation of state laws.
“Transparency in political advertising is critical to a free and informed electorate,” Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson said in a Tuesday statement. “Whether you are a local newspaper or a multinational social media platform, you must follow our campaign finance laws.”
“This resolution is reflective of our commitment to transparency and accountability,” a Twitter spokesperson said in a statement to FOX Business. “We’ll continue working to uphold our commitment to transparency and to protect the health of the online public conversation, especially ahead of the 2020 U.S. Election.”
An independent researcher in communication with the state Public Disclosure Commission requested records for ads for 12 campaigns between 2012 and 2019 from Twitter but did not hear back for two months, according to a press release.
“The people of Washington, in their overwhelming vote for the disclosure Initiative 276 nearly a half-century ago, created one of the nation’s most emphatic demands for transparency and accountability in campaign finance reporting,” Public Disclosure Commission Chair David Ammons said in a statement.
He continued: “As powerful new platforms and commercial advertisers emerge in the campaign world, we must stay vigilant in demanding full compliance with all disclosure laws of Washington state.”
Washington law requires commercial advertisers, including social media sites, to collect and disclose information on political ad sources and payments within 24 hours of publication, according to the release.