Where’s the Political Disclaimer?

  When we see political commercials, most of us are used to hearing or seeing a disclaimer at the end of the ad indicating who paid for the advertisement and the name of the candidate who approved the message and is responsible for its content.

So how is it that online at sites like Instagram, where candidates sometimes post these same ads, that the familiar disclaimers are often missing? See for example:

Click Video to Start and STOP it.

The answer can be found in the rules of the Federal Election Commission.


The law requires:

Title 11 – Federal Elections § 110.11 Communications; advertising; disclaimers (2 U.S.C 441d).

(a) Scope. The following communications must include disclaimers, as specified in this section:

(2) All public communications, as defined in 11 CFR 100.26, by any person that expressly advocate the election or defeat of a clearly identified candidate.

However, the definition of “public communications” has an exception:

General public political advertising does not include Internet ads, except for communications placed for a fee on another person’s web site.

So, since Instagram for example does not charge people who post pictures and short videos on its website, any ads that appear there fall outside the requirement of having a disclaimer.

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4 thoughts on “Where’s the Political Disclaimer?”

  1. Disclaimers can get tricky, but I think that any advertisement should have a notice of who made it or who paid for it.

    Because the video was posted to Trump’s official account we can assume that Trump had some role in paying for it, but I’m still not comfortable with it not being obvious if he did or if some other entity paid for him.

  2. I would easily say Trump had it made, but that was so cheap to produce it cost him less than couch change to make it.

  3. Trump truly came around at the right time. Of any candidate, he “controls” the media, it is his expertise, media and marketing, that is all he does. He doesn’t build anything, he just sells his name to others.

    Truly sad the state of US politics.

  4. If Trump was not leading in the polls, I sincerely doubt anyone would be responding so negatively. You seem to think this is as criminal as releasing classified information on emails.

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