The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release
Contact: Phone: (202) 588-1000

FEC to Consider Rulemaking on Political Deepfakes in Response to Public Citizen Petition

The Federal Election Commission (FEC) in a livestreamed meeting this Thursday at 10:30 a.m. ET will consider whether to initiate a full rulemaking on political deepfakes in response to a May 16 petition from Public Citizen. Public Citizen is urging the FEC to create a rule banning political deepfakes and has called on both major parties and their presidential candidates to pledge not to use deepfakes to mislead and defraud the electorate.

“Generative A.I. now poses a significant threat to truth and democracy as we know it,” said Robert Weissman, president of Public Citizen. “The technology threatens election-altering hoaxes, on the one hand, and a destruction of voters’ ability to believe even truthful images and information, on the other.”

“It’s just commonsense to apply existing laws to new technology,” said Lisa Gilbert, executive vice president of Public Citizen. “Federal law already prohibits the kind of fraudulent misrepresentation that generative A.I. now makes easy. As such, there is ample basis for an FEC rule banning or severely restricting A.I. in political campaigns. Even requiring disclosure that A.I. is behind all or part of the ad would help. Whatever course it pursues, the FEC must act swiftly for the public to maintain faith in our elections.”

“Political operatives now have the means to produce ads with highly realistic computer-generated images, audio, and video of opponents that appear genuine but are completely fabricated,” said Craig Holman, government affairs lobbyist for Public Citizen. “Deepfake technology is evolving very fast. Already it’s nearly impossible for voters to distinguish between deepfakes and authentic media. Soon even digital technology experts may be easy to fool. That’s why it’s imperative for the FEC to expand its rule against fraudulent misrepresentation to capture deceptive A.I. campaign ads.”

Please contact the individuals listed above to speak with one of our experts. They are available both before and after the Thursday FEC meeting for broadcast interviews and speaking with print reporters.

Public Citizen is a nonprofit consumer advocacy organization that champions the public interest in the halls of power. We defend democracy, resist corporate power and work to ensure that government works for the people - not for big corporations. Founded in 1971, we now have 500,000 members and supporters throughout the country.

(202) 588-1000