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FCC to Introduce a New Law That Will Require Disclosures for AI Used in Political Ads

Krishi Chowdhary Journalist Author expertise
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  • On Wednesday (May 22), FCC chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel announced that the agency is planning to introduce a new set of rules that will require AI-generated political ads to show a disclaimer.
  • This is being done to curb the spread of misinformation before the massive and much-awaited US presidential election.
  • There’s currently no information on when this law can be expected to be passed. If it follows the usual course, it might take months. However, Rosenworcel assured that she is trying to get it passed before the elections.

FCC to Introduce a New Law That Will Require Disclosures for AI Used in Political Ads

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced that it’s planning to introduce a new set of rules that will require political ads to include disclaimers if they’ve been created with the use of Artificial Intelligence. This will involve political ads aired both on TV as well as radio.

The announcement comes over the growing concerns about AI disrupting the upcoming US elections. Considering how AI has already been used to spread misinformation in many aspects, it won’t be a surprise if these tools are used to manipulate elections, too.

“As artificial intelligence tools become more accessible, the Commission wants to make sure consumers are fully informed when the technology is used.” – FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel

She has already informed other agency commissioners and asked for their support on this regulation.

However, it’s worth noting that it might take at least a few months for the legislation to pan out. This means that even if it is passed, whether it will happen in time to save the upcoming US presidential election remains a big question.

Read more: Microsoft warns that China will use AI-generated content to disrupt elections in the US, India, and South Korea

More about This New Regulation

Existing regulations already prohibit misinformation and misrepresentation of candidates and political parties. However, up until now, there has been no law that addresses the role AI can play in this.

The above-mentioned law, if passed, will be one-of-a-kind and will ensure that political advertisers are forced to maintain full transparency with the viewers/listeners.

Along with a disclaimer attached to the ads, political advertisers will also be required to create a separate written disclosure in a file that would be made available to the public.

The only downside is that this law would only cover ads aired over TV, radio, and cable providers. So, all of the ads running on digital platforms and streaming services will not be covered under this rule.

What Exactly Is ‘AI-Generated’?

Another hurdle in implementing this law is the definition of AI-generated content. Today, AI is so widely used that it’s hard to tell what should be regulated and what should get a pass. AI is often used in retouching as well. Should that require a disclaimer as well? Fine margins.

While nothing has officially been decided yet, Jonathan Uriarte, a spokesperson and policy adviser for Rosenworcel has an opinion on this.

Jonathan feels that any content that has been completely created using AI, such as AI-generated voices that sound human and AI-generated human actors that appear real, should come under the new law.

However, he also added that this definition is likely to change during the finalization process.

This isn’t the first time that the FCC has been concerned over the potential misuse of AI. Earlier this year, the agency banned AI voice-cloning tools in robocalls under existing law.

This followed an unfortunate incident where just prior to New Hampshire’s primary election, a bunch of robo-callers pretending to be Joe Biden called voters and asked them to skip the votes.

Plus, in addition to the FCC, a lot of other prominent figures and organizations are also taking steps to curb the influence of AI on elections. For example, in March, Minnesota Democratic Senator Amy Klobuchar and Alaska Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski proposed the AI Transparency in Elections Act—a similar law that mandates adding disclaimers on AI political ads.

As for digital ads, platforms like Meta have taken independent steps to address the AI problem. For instance, Meta has banned using the platform’s in-house AI tools for political ads. Moreover, it also requires ads created by other third-party AI tools to put up a disclaimer.

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Krishi Chowdhary Journalist

Krishi Chowdhary Journalist

Krishi is an eager Tech Journalist and content writer for both B2B and B2C, with a focus on making the process of purchasing software easier for businesses and enhancing their online presence and SEO.

Krishi has a special skill set in writing about technology news, creating educational content on customer relationship management (CRM) software, and recommending project management tools that can help small businesses increase their revenue.

Alongside his writing and blogging work, Krishi's other hobbies include studying the financial markets and cricket.

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