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After Russian-Linked Ads, Put Social Media Under the Microscope

Russia used Facebook ads to try to sway our election. Here’s what we can do to stop this from happening again.

Cross-posted from The Hill

What happens to American democracy when we don’t know who is behind political advertisements and messages? When not only the speakers, but even advertisements and political messages themselves, are hidden from most voters and the press?

Reformers have long argued that this kind of secrecy is a threat to democracy, giving wealthy special interests an ability to gain corrupt favor with politicians. The 2016 election revealed another peril. Foreign interference in American elections through secret, targeted and misleading messages and campaign advertisements in social media threatens the long-standing principle of popular sovereignty through democratic self-determination — the idea that the American people are the rulers of our own political order.

The problem may seem insurmountable. But the truth is that many of the same technologies that have made it easier for foreign governments to covertly interfere in American elections can be used to create more transparency and accountability in American elections.

Read the full post on The Hill

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