Former chairwoman of the Federal Election Commission Ann Ravel recently spoke at an event at UC Berkeley titled “Future of Democracy” where she discussed the possible need for regulating political speech and ads on social media.
Ravel, who has previously called for regulation of political websites such as The Drudge Report, stated that without regulation of the internet and digital platforms, the role of the FEC will essentially become obsolete as the FEC focuses mainly on TV and radio content.
“We know that there’s a lot of campaigning that’s moved to the internet, whether it’s through fake news or just outright advertising and there is almost no regulation of this, very little. And so that the disclosure that we expect as to who is behind campaigns is not going to exist soon,” said Ravel at the Berkeley law school. “Some people are even predicting that by 2020 most of the advertising is going to move from television to the internet, and and I think this is a serious issue that requires a lot of discussion.”
Ravel claimed that the use of Facebook and other social media platforms by political campaigns is a problem. “I’ve talked to a lot of campaign consultants and they buy some groups in Holland or in Russia who figure out who the target audience might be and then they go through circuitous mechanisms to put ads or fake news or whatever it is on Facebook.”
“Facebook doesn’t have any real knowledge about who it is that’s behind those ads, so I think this is a really serious issue that we need to address,” claimed Ravel.
Ravel’s speech can be seen in the video below:
— Meghan Fenzel (@meghanfenzel) April 11, 2017