Washington state Attorney General Bob Ferguson filed suit against Facebook and Google on Monday, alleging that the tech giants aren’t complying with a state law requiring them to disclose basic information about political advertising on their platforms, including the cost of any given ad campaign and the identities of the people behind specific political ads.
The complaints, filed in King County Superior Court in Seattle, cite requests made by Eli Sanders, associate editor of The Stranger newspaper, seeking information about 2017 political advertising for municipal elections. Sanders explains in a post today that he requested the information more than six months ago in person at the Seattle offices of the two tech giants, in accordance with a Washington state law that dates back to 1972.
The AG’s office cites Public Disclosure Commission records showing that Washington candidates and political committees paid $3.4 million to Facebook and $1.5 million to Google for advertising over the past decade. The lawsuits allege that the companies “failed to maintain and make available for public inspection documents and books of account specifying statutorily required information concerning political advertising on their platforms.”
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