House passes disclosure requirement for AI in political ads
TALLAHASSEE, FLA. 3/08/22-Rep. Alex Rizo, R-Hialeah, answers questions on the Charter School Bill (CS/CS/SB758) during second reading, Tuesday at the Capitol in Tallahassee. COLIN HACKLEY PHOTO

'Ultimately it’s up to who is paying for the ad.'

Candidates for office in Florida could be required to disclose whether the ads they run used artificial intelligence, under a bill passed by the House.

The bill (HB 919) passed on a 104-8 vote, with some Democrats opposing the measure, some of whom expressed concern about the criminal penalty for violating the new requirement. Any candidate or political committee that puts out an ad using AI without disclosing it would commit a first-degree misdemeanor punishable by a prison sentence of one year and a fine of $1,000.

“The reason why we wanted to give this a little more teeth … is because now there is a real concern to really change reality on people,” said Rep. Alex Rizo, a Miami Republican and sponsor of the bill.

Rep. Dotie Joseph, a North Miami Democrat, warned a criminal penalty is too harsh for such a new issue grappling with the prevalent use of artificial intelligence.

“This is something that can be addressed in a civil way,” Joseph said. “I don’t know what’s going on this session but we are fast and loose with criminal penalties.”

The Senate version of the bill (SB 850) is also ready for a vote on the floor, but it doesn’t carry a criminal penalty for nondisclosure. Instead, violations would be punished by the Florida Elections Commission, which could opt to fine a candidate or committee.

Rizo acknowledged the issue of AI in political ads is new and future legislatures will likely have to adjust the law to account for changes in how AI is used. Still, he insisted on the candidate or committee who approved or paid for the ad to be the entity liable for the disclosure, not the vendor who created the ad, as some critics of the bill suggested.

“You can delegate authority but you can’t delegate responsibility,” Rizo said. “Ultimately it’s up to who is paying for the ad.”

Gray Rohrer

One comment

  • Dont Say FLA

    February 29, 2024 at 8:01 am

    Don’t forget to make sure the disclosure text stays on screen long enough to pause it long enough for reading and without requiring a lot of luck for when you hit pause. You need enough time to see there’s a full screen of tiny text that you might want to read, decide you do want to read, then reach for the mouse, wander it around until the pause button shows, and then finally click on pause

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