Social media is the most far-reaching and influential media sources in the world of today. It is the most fastest and convenient way of communicating and idea or stand, so it would be natural to use social media advertising for political issues, as most political stand require the people’s support.
However new legislation is in works in Ireland which aims to regulate the use of the any social media platform for political advertising. This legislation might be coming into effect after the infamous scandal of Russian interference in America through social media, and the recent news of Twitter’s decision to ban all political advertising on its website. The Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government will be drafting the new legislation to ensure that there is transparency.
The Irish Government stated “This proposal to regulate is limited to online political advertising and is seen as an interim measure until the establishment of a Statutory Electoral Commission which will oversee a wider reform of the electoral processes.”
The government further laid down the objectives which the new legislation seeks to provide:
- Protecting the legitimacy of election, ensuring that they are free and fair and not dominated by a narrow range of interests.
- To respect the rights of individuals and the value of political advertising and its importance to electoral systems while ensuring that regulation of expression meets legality, necessity and proportionality requirements.
- To respect the role of the internet in the public sphere of political discourse and to ensure that the public has access to the legitimate information necessary to make autonomous decisions on voting.
The law will apply on online platforms for political advertising sellers or intermediaries and political advertising buyers. The obligation to determine that an advertisement falls within the scope of this regulation will be placed on the seller. Online paid political advertising will have to be labeled as such and displayed clearly the information, or a link to that information in a precise and clear way.
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