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How Can Social Media Pave The Way For Better Political Speech?

A photo of a computer screen showing political ads on Facebook.
Richard Drew
This photo shows a search for political ads that were on Facebook displayed on a computer screen Thursday, Oct. 31, 2019, in New York. Twitter's ban on political advertising is ratcheting up the pressure on Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg to follow suit.

Earlier this fall Twitter banned political advertising on its platform. This includes ads that reference a political candidate, party, election or legislation. Should other social media platforms follow suit?

Two technology policy experts say no. They argue that companies should instead implement changes in how they handle this type of advertising. Daniel Kreissand Matt Perault wrote an opinion piece for the New York Times detailing their recommendations for how social media platforms can better facilitate political speech. Kreiss is a principal researcher at the University of North Carolina Center for Information, Technology and Public Life. He is also an associate professor in the UNC Hussman School of Journalism and Media. And Perault is the former director of public policy at Facebook, the director of the Duke University Center on Science and Technology Policy and an associate professor of the practice at Duke University’s Sanford School of Public Policy.

The two experts join host Frank Stasio to talk about why digital advertising helps to level the playing field for some candidates and what changes they hope to see social media platforms implement around political speech.

Amanda Magnus is the executive producer of Embodied, a weekly radio show and podcast about sex, relationships and health. She has also worked on other WUNC shows including Tested and CREEP.
Longtime NPR correspondent Frank Stasio was named permanent host of The State of Things in June 2006. A native of Buffalo, Frank has been in radio since the age of 19. He began his public radio career at WOI in Ames, Iowa, where he was a magazine show anchor and the station's News Director.
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