Bloggers and others who are paid to post political messages online are subject to new disclosure rules under regulations the Fair Political Practices Commission approved Thursday.
Campaign committees will now have to report who they pay to post "favorable or unfavorable" content on blogs, social media or online videos on their campaign finance statements, and report the name of the website where the content appears.
"The purpose overall is to let the public know that they can go compare what the campaign is paying for to what is showing up online," said FPPC attorney Heather Rowan.
"I think that's going to help people see through a lot of these names and/or alert them that there's maybe something they should look at, or take with a grain of salt," she said.
Another FPPC lawyer, Zackery Morazzini, said the new reports would help the public discern between genuine opinions and campaign material.
"What the commission's concern is, is people thinking they're reading a neutral posting when in fact it's the furthest thing from it -- the individual is getting paid to sway a voter one way or another," Morazzini said.
Democratic campaign consultant Steven Maviglio, who writes for the California Majority Report blog and has been working with the FPPC on the regulations for more than a year, said he was unhappy with the final product.
"The goal has always been righteous. Implementation is going to be an avalanche of paperwork that is unenforceable," he said.
"Technology is going to leave this regulation behind before the next election season begins."
GOP consultant Rob Stutzman saw it the same way.
"If that's distasteful to people that a blogger is paid to opine in a certain way, this regulation is not going to stop that," he said. "It just creates this ridiculous regulatory road block for basic communication like tweeting."
PHOTO: Steve Maviglio, a political consultant and co-publisher of a Democratic blog, speaks at the Fair Political Practices Commission meeting on Sept. 19, 2013. The Sacramento Bee/Hector Amezcua