Facebook and Google have been sued by the State of Washington for not disclosing details about spending on advertising during the 2013 state elections that took place. Washington’s Attorney General, Bob Ferguson, indicated that he was seeking penalties and an injunction. Facebook said that it looked forward to a speedy resolution to this, while Google was unavailable for comment.
Issues with online advertising, and who was able to access these programs on popular social media platforms, and for what purpose exactly have been at the heart of the ongoing Russia Investigation being handled by Special Counsel, Robert Mueller’s team. With allegations that Russian hackers targeted ads on Facebook to cause and urge American voters to vote for Donald Trump, there has been a lot of focus on the overall framework of how advertising online is bought and sold across the various promotional applications and software that make it available to the public.
With this current lawsuit, the issue that both internet companies have is that the State of Washington has laws dating back to the 1970s which require all sellers of advertising to report regularly about who buys advertising space or time. Other states in the United States have laws that place the responsibility of the reporting on the buyer of the advertising.
It remains to be seen how both Facebook and Google will respond to this, and other potential allegations of this nature that are sure to pop up in the near future, given the current climate to protect National interests of countries around the world where both have a considerable presence and reach among the people.