A Democrat on the governing board of the Federal Election Commission has called on the “top 3” online social and search platforms to testify on unregulated political speech.
According to the Washington Examiner, Commissioner Ellen Weintraub voiced her intentions to invite government relations representatives from Twitter, Facebook, and Google to elaborate on how to address the issue of unregulated political speech on the internet.
In a memo, Weintraub–who is a known Democrat–informed Democrat commission chair Steven T. Walther that “It is imperative that we update the Federal Election Commission’s regulations to ensure that the American people know who is paying for the internet political communications they see… And it is our duty to have these changes in place in time to inform the 2018 election.”
Weintraub has been on the cutting edge of cracking down on what she has characterized as political speech that hasn’t been subject to the regulation of the FEC. Notably, she considers conservative news aggregation platform Drudge Report one of the many of examples of political speech and illegal electioneering taking place throughout the U.S.-based internet.
The inquiry from the FEC commissioner was also spurred by a vague report that Russia-tied political operatives planted political messaging on social media during the 2016 Election season.
Drugde has been the target of these claims, among other publications, which have been characterized as Russian-backed media outlets that were able to sway and impact the election toward Donald Trump’s surprising victory. Ultimately, the commissioner intends to get to the bottom of the incident from the technical support of large tech companies.
Bloomberg BNA informed their readership that Weintraub wants to raise the question of new rules covering online political campaigning at the September 14th meeting of the commission. The push for these regulations originated far beyond the 2016 election, thus reopening a proposal that was initiated in 2011, in preparation for the 2012 election season. Despite the reopening of the proposal, Weintraub has pushed the same narrative and content but lacked success and traction. The outcomes this time around can face a different outcome given the Russian controversy and alleged interference in the 2016 election results.