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FCC Proposes Disclosure of AI Use in Political Ads

The U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is proposing new rules for political ads aired on TV and over the radio.

FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel on Wednesday (May 22) issued a proposal that would require the disclosure of content generated by artificial intelligence (AI) in political ads, according to a Wednesday Reuters report. The proposal would cover ads for both candidates and ballot issues.

If the proposal is passed, it would require on-air and written disclosures and cover cable operators, satellite TV and radio providers, Reuters reported. However, the FCC does not have authority to regulate ads on the internet, on social media or on streaming services.

“As artificial intelligence tools become more accessible, the commission wants to make sure consumers are fully informed when the technology is used,” Rosenworcel said in a statement, adding the proposal “makes clear consumers have a right to know when AI tools are being used in the political ads they see.”

Rosenworcel noted that AI “is expected to play a substantial role in the creation of political ads in 2024 and beyond,” and highlighted AI’s potential in creating misleading “deep fakes,” which are “altered images, videos, or audio recordings that depict people doing or saying things that did not actually do or say, or events that did not actually occur.”

While the FCC does not have the authority to regulate ads on social media, one such platform is taking steps to highlight AI-created political ads to its users.

Meta, which owns FacebookInstagram and Threads, said in November that it was rolling out new restrictions on AI-generated ads.

Beginning in 2024, advertisers around the world posting political ads or information about a social issue or an election will have to disclose whether that material was digitally created or changed, including through AI, Meta announced Nov. 8.

Advertisers must disclose if “a social issue, electoral, or political ad contains a photorealistic image or video, or realistic sounding audio” was digitally created or altered in cases where the ad shows “a real person as saying or doing something they did not say or do.”

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