Facebook, Google to pay Washington state $400,000 in fees from campaign finance cases

Facebook, Google to pay Washington state $400,000 in fees from campaign finance cases
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Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson released a statement Tuesday afternoon announcing that tech-giants Facebook and Google are slated to pay Washington state over $400,000 in fines after the companies failed to keep track of who was paying for campaign advertisements on their platforms.

The fines follow from lawsuits that Ferguson originally filed this summer. The charges to the companies stem from the 1972 Fair Campaign Practices Act, which states that all political advertisers are required to keep track of who is purchasing advertising and make sure that information is accessible to the public. Facebook and Google did not do either of those things, according to the lawsuits.

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

According to official documents, Washington state candidates and various political committees recorded that they paid $1.5 million and $5.1 million dollars to Google and Facebook for advertising, respectively.

Ferguson says that the funds received from the cases will go to Washington’s Public Disclosure Transparency account, which is a part of the state treasury. Washington State Legislature outlines that the subsequent lawsuit funds must be used for ” implementation of chapter 304,” which is dedicated to reporting campaign finance.

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