Combating Election Disinformation

By Elizabeth Allendorf and Matthew Volk, with support from Matt Sievers and Cecilia Donnelly Krum

Download Executive Summary

Every day, tens of millions of Americans view political advertisements on social media that are disguised as unpaid content, also known as “dark ads.” According to researchers from New York University, between May 2018 and June 2019, more than half of Facebook pages that displayed U.S. political ads concealed the identities of their backers. The $1.1 billion spent on political ads on Facebook in that period makes plain that some political organizations are eager to sway the public’s vote without disclosing that they are paying for advertising. This project proposes two solutions: a series of actions that the Federal Election Commission (FEC) and Federal Trade Commission (FTC) could take to make online political ads more transparent and a game that educates potential voters about dark ads.

Click below to view various resources for combating dark ads including a policy brief, draft regulations, and a website featuring an educational game to explain the issue.

Visit the Website
Read the Policy Brief
Read the Draft Regulations
View the Demo Day Presentation
Read Elizabeth’s Op-Ed in Protego Press