Facebook Under Scrutiny for Working with Russia’s Internet Research Agency to Influence the 2016 U.S Poll

We live in the Digital Age with companies such as Facebook and Google in possession of nearly all our information. Every time someone signs up for Facebook (or its other affiliated social networks such as Instagram) he or she signs away their privacy. Facebook and Google derive a huge chunk of their earnings by availing users’ information to advertisers.

Presently, Facebook which has over two billion users is under scrutiny after the social networking site revealed that Russia’s Internet Research Agency bought ads to influence the November 8, 2016, presidential elections. Apparently, thousands of Facebook users were targeted by the advertisements. With the revelation, legislators, activists, and social commentators are calling for regulation of Facebook. A congressional oversight hearing that will monitor Facebook’s dealings with the Russia’s firm is scheduled for sometimes this month

But regulating Facebook can be a daunting task. According to Matt Stoller of Open Markets Institute, anyone desirous of regulating social media site should launch a public investigation of its activities. Stoller suggests that a congressional committee should be established to look into Facebook’s ownership of multiple social networking websites, use of virtual private networks (VPNs), its advertising business, etc. A thorough analysis of the mentioned factors is likely to reveal whether Facebook is breaking any law or not.

Meanwhile Sens. Mark Warner and Amy Klobuchar are pursuing legislation that will compel Facebook to allow the public to access its databases of all political advertising. The law will affect other social networking sites including Instagram, Snapchat, and YouTube. The database will include information such as the buyer of the ads and targeting information.

Pundits argue that Facebook is a dominant player in the social networking space. Stoller suggests that Facebook’s monopoly could be interfered with by forcing the company to be interoperable with other social sites.

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