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Facebook, Google could face tougher political ad rules in US

The U.S. Federal Election Commission is set to discuss a proposed regulatory framework that would subject Facebook Inc., Alphabet Inc. unit Google Inc. and other online platforms to stricter rules on political advertising.

Under FEC Vice Chair Ellen Weitraub's proposal, online ads would need to carry the same disclaimers from their sponsors that are also found on radio, TV and print ads. Such disclaimers must carry the sponsor's name "in letters of sufficient type size to be clearly readable by the recipient of the communication."

In addition, political ads on internet radio stations or streaming music services would need to have oral disclaimers, while candidate-sponsored ads with audio and video components would need to include a candidate's statement approving the ads.

The measures will "ensure that American citizens are informed about the sources of political advertising on the internet," as well as "improve our means of deterring and detecting illegal content," Weintraub said.

The commission will discuss the proposal at its March 8 public hearing.

The move means tech companies might need to adapt their platforms to the proposed changes to ad disclaimer rules. Facebook in 2011 asked for an exemption from the rules as its ads with a "sponsored" tag did not name the sponsor, but the FEC deadlocked on granting the request, Bloomberg News reported.

Facebook, Google and other tech giants have been under fire for Russian-linked ads on their platforms in the lead-up to the 2016 U.S. election. For its part, Facebook vowed to step up its crackdown on political ads through stricter requirements and a tougher screening process.