The Federal Election Commission moved a step closer to placing tighter regulations on Internet ads published on major Web platforms, marking a significant shift for an agency beset by partisan dysfunction and another sign that regulators are seeking to thwart foreign meddling in U.S. elections.
All five members of the commission voted Thursday to start a rulemaking process to require disclaimers for small, character-limited political ads that run online on places such as Facebook, Google and Twitter….
While the entire commission agreed that the process leading to new rules should begin, there was disagreement over when tech companies and experts should be invited to offer detailed input. Vice chair Caroline Hunter, a Republican, flashed frustration when asked by Democratic Commissioner Ellen Weintraub to explain why the commission shouldn’t hold a hearing on the matter sooner rather than later. “I don’t know how I can be any more clear,” Hunter said. She insisted that the commission should take time to digest the more than 100,000 comments it received from the public on Internet ad regulations, as well as material gleaned from three recent congressional hearings, where officials from Facebook, Google and Twitter testified.