It was actually only recently that a certain committee of lawmakers decided to approve a set of regulations that will surely end up changing precisely how much information the candidates must include within social media sites such as Twitter or Facebook. These are actually the two most successful networking sites today. This new set of rules is set to take effect in a couple of weeks.
What the Rules Say
According to the rules, all candidates must start to include an authority line, which is basically a declaration of approval that somehow lists their campaign treasurer. This authority line must be reflected on their official campaign pages, just like Facebook, Twitter, or other social networking sites that have now exploded to utter popularity, especially during election season.
However, the candidates must be well aware that these rules do not actually mean that each of the 140-character tweets that they type in must have very detailed information. Instead, the information must be on the site’s landing page so that it somehow corrals all of the tweets that are intended for campaigning for a certain candidate.
Both of today’s major gubernatorial candidates, Governor Martin O’Malley, as well as former Governor Robert L. Ehrlich, Jr., have already started to include these aforementioned authority lines. If you are confused on how these authority lines look like, you can easily check their bio section that can be found on their official campaign Twitter pages.
According to a statement released by the Director of the Division of Candidacy and Campaign Finance for the State Board of Elections, named Jared DeMarinis, he said that something like this is very new. He says that he is having the rules implemented today and also applying the rules to today’s World Wide Web.
Many social networking companies have praised the state for being quite forefront regarding this issue. The representatives of Yahoo, Facebook, AOL, and Google were all gathered in Annapolis a couple of days ago just to be able to testify in favor of these newly established regulations.
The only state that has particularly regulated exactly how the candidates use today’s booming social media sites is Florida. However, the state’s lawmakers only did so after lawsuits were filed.
The people of Maryland are also very glad with these new rules since they now understand what a certain candidate must do if ever someone wants to buy an online ad with Google, Facebook, or any other Internet provider. If the advertisement is too tiny that it cannot contain the entire authority line, which is actually pretty much the case most of the time, the candidates need to include the link that leads the site’s visitors to the official website of the campaign.
The joint committee of the Maryland General Assembly on legislative, executive, as well as administrative review actually heard testimony a few days ago. Afterwards, there was a period for voting, which resulted into an 11-to-1 that approves the emergency regulations.
Who is Opposed?
A Republican from the Eastern Shore, Del. Michael Smigiel, is very strongly opposed to the regulations. He is quite verbal with his thoughts that he strongly fears this new set of rules will have a chilling effect on the candidates’ free speech. Some committee members wanted to keep the public updated on precisely how pervasive today’s social media is in this season’s election processes. This was why they timely posted updates during the hearing.
Smigiel also posted online right before voting started that he was strongly opposed to this new set of regulations. He blatantly rejected the list of proposed rules regarding today’s electronic media.