Earlier this month, it was reported that Ottawa might take measures to regulate social media firms like Facebook, Twitter, and Google as part of its ongoing efforts to safeguard the upcoming elections.
Today, Elections Canada has informed all online social media platforms that they must comply with the new political advertising rules and has also warned them that not abiding by the rules could result in thousands of dollars in fines, CTV News is reporting.
Elections Canada’s new edict explicitly states that even if social media companies do not plan on allowing political ads on their platforms, they still have an obligation under the law to make sure that their sites uphold the new requirements.
The electoral regulator says the guidance is meant to help online platforms and digital advertisers to comply with the new changes to election-time adverting passed under Bill C-76. “The digital landscape is constantly evolving, and it will be important for the law to keep pace with change,” said Chief Electoral Officer Stéphane Perrault.
“Some platforms may decide not to sell regulated ads rather than create a registry. However, in such situations, steps must still be taken to ensure that no regulated advertising appears on the platform. If regulated ads appear without being included in a registry, an investigation and even prosecution could take place, depending on the circumstances,” says Elections Canada.
It must be noted that the new ad reporting requirements passed under Bill C-76 do not apply to texts, emails, news content, posts on party websites, or “user-generated content posted for free on social media.”