How the FEC Turned a Blind Eye to Foreign Meddling

For years, my fellow FEC commissioners refused to apply campaign finance rules to the internet. Now Russia is running amok on Facebook.

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Media Outlet: Politico Magazine

Ann Ravel wrote for Politico Magazine on how failing to regulate political ads on the internet has led to Russia meddling with US elections. 

When Facebook revealed to investigators that a Kremlin-linked troll farm paid the company $100,000 for divisive political ads during the 2016 election, many saw the news as a bombshell. But in a year of unpredictable leaks, scandals and scoops, this just might be the least surprising news.
Almost everybody with a Facebook, Twitter or Instagram account saw a political advertisement on the internet last year. The opportunity for a political campaign is obvious. Internet ads give candidates and interest groups the ability to microtarget potential voters more effectively than TV, for far less money. Approximately two-thirds of Americans get at least some of their news from social media, while print newspaper readership is a fraction of what it once was.

Author:

Ann Ravel is a fellow with New America CA. She previously served as chair of the Federal Election Commission from 2015 to 2017.