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Why ad disclosure rules don't apply to Google and Facebook

Illustration: Lazaro Gamio / Axios

Lawmakers and regulators are looking for ways to create transparency around political ads on Google and Facebook, in light of the revelations of Russian-bought political ads. But how did we get here in the first place? Google sought an exemption and Facebook sought a clarification from Federal Election Commission laws several years ago, and the FEC let both groups follow different disclosure regulations from those used on other platforms, like TV and radio.

Why it matters: It will be hard for the FEC, usually divided equally among party lines, to come to a consensus around regulating political ads online, according to sources within the FEC — meaning that any major disclosure efforts would have to come from Congress.