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Online political ads will have to declare who paid for them under new rules proposed by ministers

ONLINE political ads will have to declare who paid for them under new rules being proposed by ministers.

In a bid to make digital political messages more accountable the new rules will make parties, campaigners and others to clearly show who they are with a digital imprint content on the internet.

The move will mean that voters will get the same transparency from online material as they do from leaflets posted through their letterbox.

Minister for the Constitution & Devolution, Chloe Smith, said: “People want to engage with politics online.

“That’s where campaigners connect with voters and is why ahead of elections, almost half of political advertising budgets are now spent on digital content and activity.

“But people want to know who is talking. Voters value transparency, so we must ensure that there are clear rules to help them see who is behind campaign content online.

“The measures we have outlined today are a big step forward towards making UK politics even more transparent and would lead to one of the most comprehensive set of regulations operating in the world today.”

The Government has worked closely with social media companies and the Electoral Commission to develop the technical proposals while making sure the new rules do not stifle debate.

Today Facebook welcomed the news, as Rebecca Stimson, Head of UK Public Policy said: “We have long called for updated rules for the era of digital political campaigning and so we welcome the government’s consultation.

“Facebook has led the way on online transparency by requiring all political ads on our platforms to have a ‘paid for by’ disclaimer and placing them into an Ad Library for everyone to see.

“We look forward to further engaging with the government on this important consultation.”

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