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Petition To Regulate “Deepfake” Election Ads Will Proceed to Public Comment Period

Washington, D.C. — In an open meeting today, the Federal Election Commission (FEC) unanimously decided to advance Public Citizen’s petition requesting rulemaking to address the anticipated onslaught of “deepfakes” in 2024 campaign advertising. The next step in the process will be a public comment period, which will open next week and remain open for 60 days, after which the FEC will determine whether or not to take up a final rule.

“Deepfakes pose a significant threat to democracy as we know it,” said Robert Weissman, president of Public Citizen. “The FEC must use its authority to ban deepfakes or risk being complicit with an AI-driven wave of fraudulent misinformation and the destruction of basic norms of truth and falsity.”

“The need to regulate deepfakes and other deceptive uses of AI in election ads becomes more urgent with each passing day,” said Lisa Gilbert, executive vice president of Public Citizen. “The FEC’s decision to proceed with a public comment period is an encouraging sign that the threat AI poses to our democracy may finally be taken seriously. Public Citizen will remain vocal about this looming crisis until an appropriate rule is in place.”

“A public comment period will provide a critical forum for policy advocates, experts, and voters to express their concerns about a potential deluge of deepfake ads in the upcoming election cycle,” said Craig Holman, Ph.D., Government affairs lobbyist for Public Citizen. “With the integrity of U.S. elections at stake, the FEC has a duty to all voters to take decisive action on this issue.” 

Following Public Citizen’s petition filing in July, members in both chambers of Congress circulated letters in support of the aims of the petition and asked the FEC to begin the rulemaking process.  

For more information on the petition or to speak with an expert, please contact eleach@citizen.org.