THE UK elections regulator is after a UK probe into whether shadowy agents exerted their infamous influence over the UK at a time when we when we were voting on Brexit.
Technology companies have been targeted in the US over the existence of the influence, and just this week Facebook revealed that 20 million Instagram users may have seen politically influencing adverts in the US. Facebook itself admitted to a whopping 126 million users enduring the same on its pages but said this was a tiny per cent (0.004 per cent) of its traffic and difficult to spot. This did not go down well with Senator John Kennedy who told Facebook that it should be able to trace advertisers, before adding, “Your power scares me”.
In the UK Bob Posner, the U.K. Electoral Commission’s director of political finance and regulations has taken the blog route, and posted about why the UK needs its own investigation into such shenanigans.
“Effective campaigning is, and always has been, an important part of elections and over the last few years, we have seen this move more and more into the digital realm. With this we have seen an increase in more sophisticated uses of data, more personalised and targeted messaging, and the capacity for campaigners to do much more, at a lower cost than ever before,” he warned.
“The Electoral Commission is responsible for regulating and enforcing the rules made by Parliament that govern political campaign finance in the UK. While it is for political parties and campaigners to determine how best to use the campaign techniques now available, our priority is to make sure that appropriate transparency is maintained and to ensure voters’ confidence in the system.”
Posner seems to be suggesting that something is rotten in the vote and that if the Electoral Commission is good for anything, that thing should be this kind of thing. However, ultimately it puts its hands up and says that it is powerless to make any changes because that is down to the government.
“We will not be looking at the content of political campaign messages or advertisements, including misinformation; despite some misconception, this is not within the remit of the Electoral Commission. That does not mean that government and parliament may not wish to consider such matters,” he added.
“Our enquiries build on learning from our investigations and post-electoral event reports. They include discussions with parties and campaigners that use digital campaigning and discussions with social media companies about how their platforms are used and how their proposed self-regulation would operate. This includes speaking to Facebook and Twitter about political advertisements during the referendum and general election.” µ
Source : Inquirer