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Joe Biden's presidential victory was aided by $174 million in dark money contributions, according to a report by OpenSecrets.

Dark money spending exceeded $1 billion in 2020 election

More than $1 billion spent on the 2020 election — the most expensive presidential contest in history — came from unknown sources.

Because of the secretive nature of this so-called dark money, it's difficult to capture the entire scope of such undisclosed spending. So this enormous sum, first reported by OpenSecrets, is actually a conservative estimate. The organization, which tracks money in politics, published its report Wednesday after studying Federal Election Commission reports and advertising data.

Ironically, Democrats, who largely advocate for bolstering transparency around political spending, were the ones who benefited most from these undisclosed funds. OpenSecrets found that liberal dark money groups spent $514 million last year, compared to $200 million spent by conservative groups.

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Despite claims of bias, conservatives thrive on social media

Social media has become a punching bag for conservatives, who claim Facebook and Twitter have been silencing them. But in reality, the political right thrives on such platforms, a new report found.

The 28-page study, released Monday by New York University's Stern Center for Business and Human Rights, debunks the claim of anti-conservative bias on social media and shows how well the GOP has used those platforms for messaging and fundraising.

While the false pretense that social media sites are anti-conservative is not new, Republican ire was reignited last month after Twitter and other platforms banned President Donald Trump just days before the end of his term. That crackdown has spurred debate over the role social media companies will play in regulating future content.

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Next week's 10 most important ballot proposals for bettering democracy

It's often hard to see, but much more is at stake Tuesday than the presidency and control of Congress. Voters get to shape public policy by approving or rejecting more than 100 statewide ballot measures and dozens more local proposals — and this exercise in direct democracy includes plenty of ideas for bettering American democracy itself.

More than a score of measures would change the rules for elections from Alaska to Puerto Rico and from Maine to California. And they amount to a something-for-everyone smorgasbord of proposals at the heart of the fix-the-system agenda. There's ranked-choice voting and Electoral College neutering, open primaries and term limits, campaign finance crackdowns and partisan gerrymandering reforms, and expanded voting rights for both felons and teenagers.

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Facebook won't allow Trump or Biden to declare victory online — unless it's true

Preemptive and premature declarations of presidential victory won't be possible on Facebook anymore.

The company announced Wednesday that it will start blocking issue advocacy, electoral and political advertisements as soon as the polls close on Election Day "to reduce opportunities for confusion and abuse." It also said that, until a victor is declared by news outlets, it will have banners atop its News Feed alerting viewers that no winner has been decided.

It's the latest move by the social media giant to be more assertive in repelling those, both foreign adversaries and American candidates, who might seek to spread disinformation online in hopes of manipulating the national election outcome and its aftermath.

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