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Google to pay $217,000 and Facebook $238,000 for Washington state violation

Washington state Attorney, General Bob Ferguson reported on Tuesday that finally Facebook and Google have agreed mutually to pay $455,000 for settling all the allegations of them not keeping any records of who was actually paying for all the ads campaigns on their sites.


Google will pay $217,000 (roughly Rs. 1.5 crores) and Facebook will pay $238,000 (roughly Rs. 1.7 crores) in response to two lawsuits filed in June that accused the tech firms of not obeying the state law on political-ad transparency, Ferguson said.


“Whether you are a small-town newspaper or a large corporation, Washington’s political advertising disclosure laws apply to everyone,” Bob Ferguson stated.


“We’re working hard to protect election integrity and prevent foreign interference. We believe all ads should be transparent on Facebook and aren’t waiting for legislation to authorize political advertisers and house these ads in a public archive,” said the spokeswoman of Facebook, Beth Gautier.


Google stated that ” the company complied with Washington laws until June, when the state introduced new disclosure requirements, accepting election advertising in the state because it was unable to follow the new rules”.


On a report to the state newspaper, Google and Facebook denied the municipal election political advertising records and state that all the commercial advertisers are supposed to provide all the requested information by the public. But still, there are no statements from Facebook or Google accepting that they broke the law.


These lawsuits came after the regulations related to a new law was issued by the state’s Public Disclosure Commission. It also passed an emergency rule which clarified that the digital ad companies like Facebook and Google are subject to state law i.e requiring them to maintain information available publicly about political ads, just like all the media and television stations.

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