The Associated Press reports:
Politicians' tweets and status updates should be held to the same standards as paid advertising that voters see on television, hear on radio or find in their mailboxes, California's campaign watchdog agency says in a report being released Monday.
The Fair Political Practices Commission is considering how to regulate new forms of political activity such as appeals on a voter's Facebook page or in a text message.
Paul Sherman reacts:
To bureaucrats like those at the FPPC, the Federal Election Commission or their analogues, there seems to be no need to show any evidence that Twitter, Facebook or text messages actually pose any threat to the public. It is enough that these new forms of low-cost media aren’t currently regulated, but could be. Their primary concern, apparently, is that the regulation of political speech be as comprehensive as possible.
Here’s an alternative recommendation for the FPPC: Leave the Internet alone. What you will undoubtedly find is that California votersand, indeed, Americans generallydon’t need you to protect them from political speech. To the contrary, the First Amendment reflects a profound commitment to the idea that you are the very last people we should trust to control the content of our political debate.