Elections board OKs social media policy
Facebook: Maryland is now leading the way'
With the affirmation of leading social media companies, the state Board of Elections approved a series of new regulations Thursday establishing how candidates for political office can use online tools like Facebook and Twitter.
The rules say online communications should include "by authority of" lines, which are required now for printed material. If a tweet or an online advertisement doesn't have room for the line, it can be included in the home page or landing page of a site. And if it can't be included there, it must be registered with the elections board.
The meeting, in Annapolis, was attended by representatives of America Online, Google, Yahoo and Facebook.
"They feel as though everyone can breathe a sigh of relief" from the regulations, said Jared DeMarinis, director of candidacy and campaign finance for the elections board.
The five-member board passed the rules 4-0. Chairman Robert L. Walker was absent.
DeMarinis said he anticipated the board posting on its website a directory of candidates' social media links. Voters would be able to scan the list so they could find candidates' communications.
In a statement, Andrew Noyes, Facebook's manager of public policy communications, said: "This is a victory for Facebook and a victory for campaigns that want to use social media. Maryland is now leading the way for the rest of the country in making it clear to campaigns how they can legally use social media to reach voters."