U.K. to require election campaigns to show source of online ads

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(Aug 12): U.K. political campaigners will be required to identify who is behind content that they put online, under government plans to adapt election rules for the digital age.

Current British rules mean that printed election leaflets have to carry an “imprint” saying who is responsible for them. That makes it possible to enforce spending rules that aim to control the influence of money on politics.

But there are no equivalent rules for digital content, even though that’s where close to half of political advertising budgets are spent, according to the government. Now ministers propose to bring the law into line, requiring a “digital imprint,” either visible or linked from the online material, for advertising produced by political parties or campaigners.

“People want to engage with politics online,” Constitution Minister Chloe Smith said. “That’s where campaigners connect with voters. 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.”