Politically themed YouTube videos could be the next target of federal regulators.
The top Democrat on the Federal Election Commission strongly suggested Friday that regulators look at extending their authority to election-themed Internet videos – an area that for years has been largely hands-off for the government.
The statement from Vice Chairwoman Ann Ravel, who is in line to take over the commission next year, prompted Republicans to warn that such a move could threaten the growth and freedom of the Internet itself.
“I have been warning that my Democratic colleagues were moving to regulate media generally and the Internet specifically for almost a year now,” Chairman Lee Goodman told FoxNews.com. “And today’s statement from Vice Chair Ravel confirms my warnings.”
At issue was a case considered by the FEC – the chief campaign-finance regulator – in September involving a group that ran pro-coal videos critical of Democrats in 2012. The group initially was accused of failing to report the cost of the videos and of failing to include the routine “disclaimers.”
But the group maintained that since they were only run on YouTube, they were exempt.
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