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Judge bars enforcement of Maryland online political ad law

Facebook is unveiling a new verified badge for local businesses (File photo).

Facebook is unveiling a new verified badge for local businesses (File photo).

ANNAPOLIS — A federal judge says a Maryland law aimed at addressing foreign interference in local elections on social media platforms such as Facebook appears to overstep the First Amendment.

The law requires certain media websites to publish online ad purchases and keep records of them for state inspection.

U.S. District Judge Paul Grimm granted a preliminary injunction on Thursday to prevent the state from enforcing those provisions until the case is resolved.

The Washington Post and other media outlets with an online presence in Maryland filed a federal lawsuit last year to block portions of the law from being enforced.

Grimm says while he has no cause to block the law’s wholesale enforcement, the plaintiffs persuaded him the requirements are “most likely unconstitutional as it applies to these Plaintiffs.”


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