The state of Washington sues Facebook and Google for not keeping track of election ads

The US state of Washington is filing a lawsuit against two major tech companies - Google and Facebook -, for allegedly violating campaign finance laws.

Both the corporations in question sold ads during the last U.S. election cycle. However, Washington's Attorney General Bob Ferguson has claimed that the companies failed to "maintain and make available for public inspection documents and books of account specifying statutorily required information concerning political advertising sponsored" on their respective advertising platforms.

Ferguson seeks to levy penalties against the two conglomerates as well as an injunction for their failure to disclose the expenditure on ads of political nature since 2013. Washington is one of the only states in the United States that has laws placing the burden of disclosure on the platform and not the buyer (which, the rest of the country follows).

The social media behemoth claimed that it was raring to resolve the lawsuit as it has already introduced tools that allow people to see who is buying political ads on its platform. Google, on its part, is creating an online archive of all its ads for people to see.

You can read the complaints made against the companies here:

The companies have faced a lot of flak for their role in dispersing "fake news" during the 2016 election. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg was recently grilled by the Congress regarding the company's involvement in the Cambrige Analytica scandal. The companies, along with Twitter, were also questioned by the Senate regarding "Russian involvement" in the 2016 election. In later admissions, the companies separately admitted the involvement of the European country. Adverts by Russians hoping to sway the election were seen by 10 million Americans on Facebook while, tens of thousands of dollars were spent by Russians on ads on Google's various platforms.

Source: Reuters | Image via Beyond Teaching

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