Political spending on TV and press is transparent but there are no rules for online ads. With allegations of Russian influence in last year’s election, that may change
Every time a television station sells a political ad, a record is entered into a public file saying who bought the advertisement and how much money they spent.
In contrast, when Facebook or Google sells a political ad, there is no public record of that sale. That situation is of growing concern to politicians and legislators in Washington as digital advertising becomes an increasingly central part of American political campaigns. During the 2016 election, over $1.4bn was spent in online advertising, which represented a 789 percent increase over the 2012 election.