Maryland Seeks to Regulate Your Twitters

The Maryland State Elections Board is acting like, well, a bunch of Twits, as it seeks to impose ridiculous new regulations on political use of Twitter, Facebook, and other social media accounts.  Allison Hayward of the Center for Competitive Politics has the story:

This new regulation would extend the document retention requirements to electronic communications.  So, because the state requires a candidate to retain a copy of campaign brochures or bulk mail for a year (which is annoying but doable) it must now retain a sample of each electronic media advertisement, text message, or other social media communication.  The copy must either be a paper copy, or an electronic copy that can produce a paper copy of the message.  …

Interestingly enough, representatives from Google, Yahoo, Facebook and AOL supported this rule.  Apparently they believe that the disclaimer requirements will reassure political advertisers and protect their advertising revenues.  Sure – these providers don’t have to observe the retention requirements, and in any case wouldn’t be a party to any violations. …

This isn’t the end of the story.  The State Board will hold a future hearing and vote on a final draft in the coming months.  By that time, one hopes the Board comes to its senses and concludes that this requirement does little that is good, and abandons the false analogy that electronic communications need further regulation.

Read the whole story here

So-called “Reformers” don’t like to admit it, but they’ve never been comfortable with political speech on the internet, and they aren’t comfortable with it now.  Vigilence is constantly required to keep the internet an outlet for unfettered political speech.