The FCC has updated its political programming and recordkeeping rules to better conform with statutory requirements, reflect modern campaign practices, and increase transparency. Under the updated guidelines, which take effect July 5, 2022, the use of social media and the creation of a campaign website are now included in the list of activities that may be considered when assessing whether a write-in candidate is legally qualified for public office. Candidates may now use their online presence to help qualify for the lowest unit rate on broadcast radio and television ad buys, as well as other benefits like reasonable access and equal time opportunities. While online presence alone is not determinative, a person’s social media and website are now considered additional indicators of his or her candidacy. Furthermore, to align with the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002, the FCC has extended its political file requirements to include any request for issue ads relating to political matters of national importance and to specify the records that must be maintained.
Please contact any attorney in our Media practice group if you have questions about the FCC’s political broadcasting rules.