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The Federal Communications Commission is considering new rules that would require political ads on TV and radio to include disclaimers about the use of artificial intelligence. FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel has proposed regulations to ensure consumers are aware when AI tools are used in political ads amid concerns about the potential for AI-generated deepfakes to influence elections. The proposed rules would apply to broadcast TV and radio, cable, and satellite providers, but not internet-based media. Political advertisers would be required to make on-air disclosures if their ads contain AI-generated content and provide written disclosures in broadcasters’ public files.

The proposed FCC rules seek to address a gap in the regulation of artificial intelligence in political advertising, as existing US election law does not clearly address AI-generated content. Last summer, Republicans on the Federal Election Commission blocked a move that could have clarified the law’s application to AI-created depictions. In response, some US lawmakers have introduced legislation such as the AI Transparency in Elections Act, which could require AI disclaimers on political ads. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has emphasized the need for Congress to establish regulations for artificial intelligence, particularly in the context of elections, but passing meaningful AI legislation during an election year may be challenging.

In addition to government actions, online platforms like Meta have taken their own measures to address AI in political ads. Meta requires campaigns to disclose the use of deepfakes and has banned the use of its generative AI tools for political advertising. These steps by both government entities and private companies aim to increase transparency and accountability in the use of artificial intelligence in political advertising and to address concerns about the potential manipulation of voters through AI-generated content.

The FCC’s proposal to require political ads to include disclaimers about the use of artificial intelligence is part of a broader effort to ensure that consumers are informed and protected when AI tools are employed in advertising, particularly in the context of elections. By mandating on-air disclosures and written disclosures in broadcasters’ public files, the FCC aims to increase transparency and accountability in political advertising and to address concerns about the impact of AI-generated content on elections.

While the FCC’s proposed rules would apply to broadcast TV and radio, cable, and satellite providers, internet-based media such as streaming video services and social media are not covered. This highlights the need for comprehensive regulation of artificial intelligence in political advertising across all platforms to address potential loopholes and ensure consistent standards. The proposed rules also underscore the importance of ongoing efforts by lawmakers and tech companies to establish guidelines and safeguards for the use of AI in elections and to protect the integrity of the democratic process.

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