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FCC Proposes AI Disclosure Regulation for Political Ads, Sparking Debate FCC Proposes AI Disclosure Regulation for Political Ads, Sparking Debate
The Federal Communications Commission recently proposed a new regulation that would mandate the disclosure of AI use in political advertisements. Because... FCC Proposes AI Disclosure Regulation for Political Ads, Sparking Debate

The Federal Communications Commission recently proposed a new regulation that would mandate the disclosure of AI use in political advertisements. Because of this proposal a heated debate sparked as FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr criticized it as an overreach of regulatory authority ahead of the upcoming election.

FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel, a Democratic appointee, introduced the proposal which would initiate a rulemaking process requiring candidates and issue advertisements to disclose the use of AI.

While the proposal does not prohibit AI-generated content in political ads, it mandates that TV and radio operators include this disclosure in ads aired by campaigns and advocacy groups. Commissioner Carr, a Republican appointee, expressed concerns over the timing and implications of the proposal.

He highlighted that recent reports from outlets like The Associated Press indicate Democratic anxiety about falling behind Republicans in AI utilization for political ads. “Over the last few weeks and months, there’s been a lot of reporting that attributes perspectives either to the DNC or the Biden campaign itself expressing concern and nervousness that Democrats are falling behind Republicans and the Trump campaign in particular when it comes to the use of artificial intelligence in political ads in the run up to this fall’s election,” Carr told FOX Business.

Carr further argued that the FCC lacks the authority to enforce such a disclosure on platforms beyond TV and radio, potentially leading to inconsistent application across streaming services and social media platforms.

We don’t have a broad-based jurisdiction across all technologies on which political ads would be running,” Carr said. “The FCC’s assertion is that we could do this for broadcast radio and broadcast TV. But then you have a scenario in which an ad is running on broadcast TV, then someone sees it on a streaming service or a social media platform – you see it one time, and it’s got this disclosure that it’s made with AI, in the other context, you don’t see that.”

Carr also questioned the practical benefit of the disclosure for consumers, pondering whether it would clarify the extent of AI involvement in an ad. “How useful is that to consumers? Like, am I seeing something that’s completely fake? Is it just that ChatGPT was used to assist in one sentence in the actual script that was used?” he asked.

He suggested that the matter might be better handled by the Federal Elections Committee, which has the authority to impose disclosure obligations for political ads. “At a minimum, the FCC needs to make clear it’s not going to upend the apple cart when it comes to political speech right on the eve of a contested national election,” Carr emphasized.

In response, an FCC spokesperson stated, “This is the first election cycle with the widespread use of AI generative technology. As with any potential rulemaking, we welcome a range of perspectives on the impact of AI on our democratic elections.”

Chairwoman Rosenworcel defended the proposal, noting the increasing accessibility of AI tools and the need for transparency. “As artificial intelligence tools become more accessible, the Commission wants to make sure consumers are fully informed when the technology is used. Today, I’ve shared with my colleagues a proposal that makes clear consumers have a right to know when AI tools are being used in the political ads they see, and I hope they swiftly act on this issue,” she wrote.

The debate continues as the proposal underscores the evolving challenges of regulating AI in the political landscape, with implications for transparency and the integrity of democratic processes.

ODSC Team

ODSC Team

ODSC gathers the attendees, presenters, and companies that are shaping the present and future of data science and AI. ODSC hosts one of the largest gatherings of professional data scientists with major conferences in USA, Europe, and Asia.

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