Election 2016

Is Facebook a 'Bug' in Our Democracy? Part 3

[Commentary] We are in a brave new world. Facebook and 'Big Tech' have contributed to the erosion of our democratic discourse. We need to have these new titans assume responsibilities on par to the influence they have over our information ecosystem. We need to address this bug in our democracy. Short-term policy solutions can help curb some of Facebook’s harmful effects, but the larger task before policymakers -- and all of us -- is to critically examine the long-term health of our democratic discourse.

13 Russians Indicted by Special Counsel in First Charges on 2016 Election Interference

The special counsel investigating Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election charged 13 Russian nationals and three Russian organizations owith illegally using social media platforms to sow political discord, including actions that supported the presidential candidacy of Donald Trump and disparaged his opponent, Hillary Clinton. In a 37-page indictment filed in United States District Court, Mueller said that the 13 individuals have conspired since 2014 to violate laws that prohibit foreigners from spending money to inf

Donald Trump Jr. Communicated With WikiLeaks During Campaign

Donald Trump Jr. had multiple online conversations during the 2016 presidential campaign with WikiLeaks, the anti-secrecy group that released a hacked trove of Democrats’ emails, according to four congressional officials. Trump, the president’s son, in recent weeks handed over Twitter messages he exchanged with WikiLeaks to several congressional committees investigating Russia’s attempts to disrupt the election, according to the officials.

FCC Commissioner Carr Slams Twitter for Tagging President Trump Tweets

Federal Communications Commissioner Brendan Carr slammed social media and their Sec. 230 exemption from liability for how they handle third-party content--both taking it down and leaving it up. Tucker Carlson asked Commissioner Carr why the White House and Congress had not done anything about the exemption. Commissioner Carr cited the reports that the President's executive order would be "addressing some of these issues," then went off on social media himself.

Many Tech Experts Say Digital Disruption Will Hurt Democracy

Pew Research Center and Elon University’s Imagining the Internet Center canvassed technology experts in the summer of 2019 to gain their insights about the potential future effects of people’s use of technology on democracy. Overall, 979 technology innovators, developers, business and policy leaders, researchers, and activists responded  to the following query:

Technology, tribalism, and truth

The internet was supposed to be the great gift to democracy because everyone would be free to express themselves without the interference of editors or other filters. Instead, the business model of the internet—collecting and manipulating personal information to sell targeting services—has created the tool for attacking the democratic imperative to seek Unum. Our foreign adversaries have proven especially talented in exploiting this capability.

At the heart of Facebook’s rocky public position is the scale of its own power

By the end of the 2014 election, campaigns and political committees had directly spent about $8 million on Facebook advertising, less than half the amount they’d spent on Google. Through September of 2019, that figure neared $46 million, 50 percent more than what Google took in. And that’s only direct spending, excluding spending by political consultants on behalf of candidates or campaigns. In the 2016 campaign alone, Donald Trump’s team spent somewhere around $70 million on Facebook through a digital firm run by Brad Parscale, who is now Trump’s campaign manager. 

Don’t Tilt Scales Against President Trump, Facebook Executive Warns

On Dec. 30, Andrew Bosworth, the head of Facebook’s virtual and augmented reality division, wrote on his internal Facebook page that, as a liberal, he found himself wanting to use the social network’s powerful platform against President Donald Trump. But citing the “Lord of the Rings” franchise and the philosopher John Rawls, Mr. Bosworth said that doing so would eventually backfire. “So what stays my hand?

FTC Grants Final Approval to Settlement with Former Cambridge Analytica CEO, App Developer over Allegations they Deceived Consumers over Collection of Facebook Data

The Federal Trade Commission has granted final approval to a settlement with the former CEO of Cambridge Analytica, LLC and an app developer who worked with the company to resolve allegations they used deceptive tactics to collect personal information from tens of millions of Facebook users for voter profiling and targeting. As part of the settlement, app developer Aleksandr Kogan and Cambridge Analytica CEO Alexander Nix are prohibited from making false or deceptive statements regarding the extent to which they collect, use, share, or sell personal information, as well as the purposes for

FTC Issues Opinion and Order Against Cambridge Analytica For Deceiving Consumers About the Collection of Facebook Data, Compliance with EU-US Privacy Shield

The Federal Trade Commission issued an Opinion finding that the data analytics and consulting company Cambridge Analytica, LLC engaged in deceptive practices to harvest personal information from tens of millions of Facebook users for voter profiling and targeting. The Opinion also found that Cambridge Analytica engaged in deceptive practices relating to its participation in the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield framework. In an administrative complaint filed in July, FTC staff alleged that Cambridge Analytica and its then-CEO Alexander Nix and app developer Aleksandr Kogan deceived consumers.