A judge in Washington state Wednesday fined Facebook’s parent company Meta about $25 million for willful and repeated violations of the campaign finance disclosure law.
The penalties handed down by King County Superior Court Judge Douglas North are the maximum allowable for more than 800 violations of Washington’s Fair Campaign Practices Act, passed by voters in 1972 and later strengthened by Congress. Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson argued that the maximum was appropriate given that his office sued Facebook for violating the same law in 2018.
Meta, based in Menlo Park, Calif., did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment.
Under Washington’s Transparency Act, ad sellers such as Meta retain and publish the names and addresses of those who purchase political ads, the targets of such ads, how the ads are paid for, and the total number of views for each ad. need to do it. Advertisement sellers must provide information to those seeking information. Television stations and newspapers have obeyed the law for decades.
However, Mehta has repeatedly opposed the demands, saying in court that the law was unconstitutional because it “unduly burdens political discourse” and is “virtually impossible to fully comply with.” Facebook maintains an archive of political ads that run on its platform, but the archive does not disclose all the information required under Washington law.
“I have only one word to say about Facebook’s conduct in this matter: arrogance,” Ferguson said in a news release. “Deliberately ignoring Washington’s Election Transparency Act. But that wasn’t enough. Facebook argued in court that these laws should be declared unconstitutional. It’s breathtaking. Where is corporate responsibility?
In 2018, following Ferguson’s initial lawsuit, Facebook agreed to pay $238,000, promising transparency in campaign funding and political advertising. It then said it would stop selling political ads in the state rather than comply with the requirement.
Despite this, the company continued to sell political ads, and Ferguson filed a lawsuit again in 2020.
North acknowledged last month that the Meta violation was intentional, stating, “Meta understands that the announced ‘ban’ will not and will not stop such ads from continuing to appear on the platform. I was aware that
Violations of the law are usually punishable by up to $10,000, but penalties can be tripled if a judge finds it to be willful. North fined Meta her $30,000 (about $24.7 million) for each 822 violations. Ferguson described the fine as the largest campaign finance fine ever issued in the United States.
Meta, one of the world’s richest companies, Wednesday reported quarterly earnings of $4.4 billion ($1.64 per share) for the three months ended Sept. 30, bringing in nearly $28 billion in revenue. I was.
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https://www.newsmax.com/us/facebook-meta-campaign/2022/10/26/id/1093615 Meta Fined $24.7 Million for Campaign Finance Disclosure Violation