Attorney General Claims Meta Intentionally Violated Campaign Finance Law
A King County Superior Court judge granted Ferguson’s motion against Meta for violating Washington’s campaign finance transparency law.
Meta is the parent company for Facebook and Instagram, among other social media platforms. They have tried striking down this law multiple times.
This is the third time Washington’s Attorney General’s Office has filed a lawsuit against Meta for not being transparent about campaign ads.
“We defeated Facebook’s cynical attempt to strike down our campaign finance transparency law,” Attorney General Bob Ferguson said. “On behalf of the people of Washington, I challenge Facebook to accept this decision and do something very simple: follow the law.”
The first lawsuit was back in Dec. 2018, which resulted in a $238,000 settlement, and another lawsuit in 2020.
On Sep. 2, 2022, the judge ruled that Meta must pay penalties, costing $10,000 per violation. Meta reportedly violated this law hundreds of times.
Since these violations are seen as intentional, the court may triple the amount of punitive damages.
The campaign finance transparency law in question was adopted back in 1972, which requires commercial advertisers to maintain campaign ad information, including the cost, sponsor, and target of the ad.
Ferguson states that Meta’s Ad Library did not include all the ad information that this law required.
These funds will go towards the State Public Disclosure Transparency Account.