April 30, 2024

The PDC is seeking comments regarding proposed rules on  the use of synthetic media in electioneering communications, also known “deepfakes.” The proposed rules will be considered for adoption at a public hearing on May 23. If adopted by the Commission, the rules will be in effect in time for the 2024 election cycle. 

Senate Bill 5152, passed in the 2023 legislative session, created a private cause of action against the sponsor of electioneering communications using synthetic media.  A candidate who is the subject of a deepfake could file a civil suit against the sponsor, unless the communication includes a disclaimer that it includes synthetic media.   

The Legislature directed the PDC to adopt rules to further the purpose of the new law. The proposed rules would amend WAC 390-16 and 390-18, requiring committees and sponsors of political advertising and electioneering communications who use synthetic media to include the following information in expenditure reports: The name of the vendor that provided the technology for political ads using synthetic media, the commercial advertiser, and the description of how audiences were targeted.  

Commercial advertisers who sell synthetic media services would also have to include such information in their books of account available for public inspection.  

To comment on the draft rules, or to sign up for public comment at the May 23 public hearing, email pdc@pdc.wa.gov. Written comments are due by May 20. 


Comments received: