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Comelec expands rules for pole advertising on social media

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MANILA, Philippines – Only websites, blogs, and social media pages registered by candidates and political parties are allowed to run campaign ads for the May 9th 2022 elections, and they must disclose that they are paid ads and they must indicate who paid for it.

These provisions are part of the expanded social media regulation contained in the Political Advertisement Rules issued by the Electoral Commission (Comelec) for next year’s elections.

At each election, the electoral body enacts rules to implement the Fair Election Act or Republic Act No. 9006. The most recent rules are contained in Comelec Resolution No. 10730 of November 17, published Thursday.

As in previous elections, Comelec required candidates and political parties or coalitions to register all of their “accounts, websites, blogs and / or other social media pages” with the education and information department of the electoral body.

This time, however, according to Comelec, these must be registered within 30 days from October 8, the last day on which the certificates of candidacy are submitted.

The polling panel reiterated that it would even regulate websites, blogs or social media pages that were not registered by the candidates, but whose main purpose is to support a candidate, regardless of whether it is directly maintained by the candidates or their official campaign representatives or managed.

Microtargeting Voters

Additional websites and social media accounts must be registered within five days of their creation.

“Only verified accounts, websites, blogs and / or social media pages are allowed to advertise and promote or promote election advertising,” warned Comelec.

In addition, the commission banned the “microtargeting” of campaign advertisements for the first time.

Comelec defines microtargeting as “a form of online advertising targeted that uses the latest technological developments to analyze a person’s online usage in order to preferably deliver advertisements and other information that reflects that individual user’s preferences and personality. “

Microtargeting delivers highly specific political messages to small groups of people based on detailed information about them, such as what they buy, view, or respond to on a website.

“Microtargeting of election advertising is not permitted, provided that election advertising can only be targeted according to the following criteria: geographical location, except for a radius around a certain location, age and gender; provided that context targeting options can still be used in combination with the above criteria, ”says the Comelec regulation.

Comelec also warned that the information in online campaign ads should be truthful, not misleading, and should not cast doubt on the integrity of the electoral process.

The polling agency has also asked internet and social media companies operating in the country to report the details of the paid political ads they run.

E-rallies live stream

Comelec also said for the first time that it would stream the “e-rallies” of national candidates, including party list groups, for free on its official social media channel.

An e-rally is a political campaign conducted for an online audience.

The live stream of the e-rallies will take place every evening from February 8, 2022, with the slots being raffled among the candidates on January 8.

Each evening, three presidential and three vice presidential candidates are lodged for 10 minutes each; five Senate candidates and five party list groups for three minutes each and three political parties for ten minutes each.

“During each live stream, the candidate can see live comments on their live stream. The candidate may or may not respond to live comments, ”said Comelec.

It added that candidates and political parties could hold online campaign rallies and activities without any time limit and that such activities would not come under broadcast advertising restrictions.

Candidates may receive in-platform gifts and in-game currency during online activities, but they may not give gifts to the livestream audience or run promotions and campaigns that give in-platform gifts or in-game currency to the online audience.

The rules will take effect during the official campaign period, which begins February 8, 2022 for national candidates and March 25, 2022 for local candidates.

The law limits campaign spending to 10 P10 per registered voter for those running for president or vice-president; P3 per constituent registered voter for candidates of a political party; P5 per constituent registered voter for candidates without a political party; and P5 per registered voter for political parties and party list groups.

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