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Who's Selling In The Online Marketplace of Ideas?
The debate over campaign finance regulations is often framed as reducing corruption in the electoral process versus protecting the freedom of speech. However, with the advent of new technologies and the ever-important role that the internet and social media now play in our lives, and in political campaigning, the campaign finance debate, as well as existing regulations, fail to recognize how digital campaigning disrupts the conventional wisdom. This article examines how the contrasting systems of campaign regulation in the United States and United Kingdom exemplify this debate, while similarly failing to recognize the role of disclaimers in online political advertising.
This article reviews the primary themes espoused by academics and theorists in framing the scholarly debate of campaign finance regulation and then situates some of those concepts of democracy in the development of U.S. and U.K. campaign finance laws. After closely examining one particular problem each country currently faces: the gaps in the campaign finance regulatory system for online political advertising, I offer suggestions as to how each country can learn from one another, in terms of free speech principles and implementing online disclaimer regulations to reflect those principles.