September 21st, 2017
(written by lawrence krubner, however indented passages are often quotes). You can contact lawrence at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Calls for more transparency and regulation governing the content and advertising on Facebook are suddenly coming from both the right and the left in Washington, and are likely to increase as more information emerges about how the company earns nearly all of its almost $30 billion in annual revenue.
The attention has intensified since Facebook recently admitted that Russian buyers were able to purchase thousands of ads on its platform on hot-button issues like immigration and gay rights in the run-up to the US election. It’s also been revealed that its policing of ads is so lax that it was possible to buy ads targeting users interested in topics like “Jew hater” and “how to burn Jews,” ProPublica reported. (The topics have been removed since). Facebook isn’t alone—until recently, on Google, it was possible to target messages to people who search for phrases like “blacks destroy everything,” BuzzFeed reported.
Long before Russia meddled in the 2016 US presidential election, and before lawmakers in Washington DC were scrambling to figure out how to rein in Facebook, a small federal agency was wrangling with how to regulate the growing power of the internet in political elections.