Meta fined for repeated and intentional violation of campaign finance laws in Washington state

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A judge at King County Superior Court in Washington fined Meta, Facebook’s parent company, $24.66 million for repeatedly and willfully violating campaign finance laws in Washington state.

Meta is alleged to have violated more than 800 of the 1972 Fair Campaign Practices Act, which requires full disclosure of all information related to political campaign financing.

Ad sellers such as Meta are required by law to publish the names and addresses of those who purchase political ads, as well as the purpose of the ads, the way the ads were paid for, and the number of views on the ad. Ad sellers are required to provide the information to anyone who requests it. For decades, television stations and newspapers have followed the law.

The fine is the highest penalty for campaign finance in the country, according to the Washington attorney general’s office.

In the meantime, Meta has tried and failed to argue that the law is unconstitutional because it violates free speech and is impossible to enforce. This is because Facebook keeps records of the political ads it runs but does not contain all the information required by Washington law.

The sources for this piece include an article in NPR.

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