Digital political ad spending is expected to reach roughly $2.9 billion for this year’s election, which is double the amount spent in 2016. On this episode of Inside the Issues, we look at the impact social media is playing in politics and how the digital landscape is shaping elections.

Alex Kantrowitz, Senior Technology reporter with BuzzFeed and author of Always Day One: How the Tech Titans Plan to Stay On Top Forever, tells when social media started playing a larger role in political influence and how it propelled President Donald Trump’s campaign in 2016.


Social media companies like Facebook, Google and Twitter have taken vastly different approaches to what they will or won’t allow in regards to political advertising on their platforms. University of California Los Angeles Professor of Law Eugene Volokh, talks about why the rules of advertising on those sites is vastly different than those of television or radio.

Adriel Hampton is someone who has been frustrated with Facebook’s stance on the fact checking of politician’s posts and has decided to run for Governor of California to test their limits. He talks about why he decided to challenge the social media giant and why he decided to start his own campaign.



When it comes to who should regulate these posts there is a debate over who is responsible for ensuring the ads are accurate.

Ellen L. Weintraub, Commissioner of the Federal Election Commission, talks about the effects social sites are having on elections and why she says regulating microtargeting might be a solution.



Last fall, Governor Gavin Newsom signed off on legislation that makes it a crime to distribute audio or video that gives a false or damaging impression of a politician’s words or actions. Spectrum News 1 reporter Daniela Pardo talks to University of California Berkeley professor Dr. Hany Farid, who is working on a way to use the technology to stop the use of deepfake technology.

Republicans in the Golden State have been using all sorts of social media in an attempt to bolster its ranks. Spectrum News 1 reporter Sarina Sandoval talks to the Executive Director of the California GOP party about their digital strategy.

Political Consultant Mariah Craven, who also co-hosts the Swing Left Podcast, talks about what the Democratic strategy might look like in preparation for the 2020 election.