San Jose lawmaker’s social media pages kept separate, she says
Councilmember Dev Davis launches her mayoral campaign at Hapa's Brewing Company on Aug. 4. Photo by Lloyd Alaban.

San Jose Councilmember Dev Davis drew the ire of campaign watchdogs and local residents regarding her Facebook page in September. But the District 6 rep has since wised up when it comes to social media.

Davis was co-mingling her official Facebook page with her mayoral campaign page, San José Spotlight learned. Davis’ campaign team put “Councilwoman Dev Davis for Mayor 2022,” on a page used for city work before it formed a new Facebook page for her office.

That first page has now been updated to her campaign page, which changed labels “in the past month,” according to Davis, though she declared her candidacy in April.

The time gap is attributed to a training course that Davis, like all other candidates for office, must take to adhere to campaign regulations. The training includes social media dos and don’ts for people who run for office.

“I don’t think I had much on social media at that point, but we hadn’t gotten the training from the city attorney’s office yet,” Davis told San José Spotlight. “The rules had changed since I ran for reelection.”

Davis confirmed she now has two separate Facebook pages. She also has two websites: one for her campaign for mayor and one official page for her council office.

The banner for Davis’ mayoral campaign page.
The banner for Davis’ council page.

Davis’ council team made a new page, labeled “San Jose District 6,” for her official city communications.

Candidates, lest they break city and state rules on campaigning, usually have a separate page for both their campaign and an office page if they are elected officials.

Davis declared her run for mayor in April, becoming the second councilmember to enter the mayoral race.

“Anyone can go to the official page and see there’s nothing political about it, and that’s the important part,” Davis said.

Davis and fellow Councilmember Matt Mahan, who announced his candidacy in September, were subjects of a San José Spotlight report where the two allegedly bungled naming who paid for their Facebook advertisements. Both candidates have since addressed their ads. Davis updated her ads’ disclaimers, while Mahan confirmed with San José Spotlight he paid for all his ads out of pocket.

According to Sean McMorris, policy consultant to watchdog group California Common Cause, paid ads are what candidates must pay attention to. Certain “paid for by” disclosures must be posted stating how funds are spent when creating or running social media ads on platforms such as Facebook or Instagram. If there’s no payment involved for the post, then generally, McMorris says, disclosing it with the state isn’t required.

“In general, if you’re not paying for advertisements, you don’t have to make these disclosures,” McMorris told San José Spotlight. “But it’s a good idea to post a disclosure if they’re uncertain if they need to or not anyway.”

Davis is campaigning for mayor against fellow Councilmembers Mahan and Raul Peralez and Santa Clara County Supervisor Cindy Chavez, along with long shot candidate Jonathan Royce Esteban. The mayoral primary is set for June 2022.

Contact Lloyd Alaban at [email protected] or follow @lloydalaban on Twitter.

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