When Big Tech embeds staffers in political campaigns

By: Jed Kim, Marketplace, January 8, 2019

If there’s one thing that’s clear from the 2016 election, it’s that the internet and social media have a huge influence on the political process. These days, if you want to run a successful campaign, you need an effective digital strategy. Fortunately for politicians, Big Tech companies like Google and Facebook provide representatives to embed within a campaign. They help navigate digital platforms and give tech support. But are those tech reps getting too much access to politicians and future leaders? Jed Kim talks with Daniel Stevens, executive director of the Campaign for Accountability, a nonprofit watchdog group in Washington, D.C. He asked him what’s in it for the tech companies. The following is an edited transcript of their conversation.

Daniel Stevens: The tech companies see this as a way to help the campaigns run ads on their platforms. And so Facebook and Google think that if the Cruz campaign or the Trump campaign are spending millions of dollars running ads on their platforms, then they’ll provide the staffers on how to run those ads free of charge.

Jed Kim: And we have the Federal Election Commission, which is supposed to be regulating things like this. How do they work in this kind of tech aspect?

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