We're a small non-profit team building big (free & open-source) things.

Sludge

An Independent Newsroom

Sludge produces investigative journalism on money in politics. Founded in 2018, Sludge's reporting increases public accountability for greater trust in U.S. representative democracy.

Visit Sludge

AskThem

For public accountability

Questions-and-answers with every U.S. elected official and any verified Twitter account. AskThem is different: we're open-source & open-data. Question and petition people in power.

Check out AskThem

Our Principles

Join the Sludge Newsletter!

Make Use of What We Do

Crowdsource Q&A

AskThem supports continual questions to public figures & during events. Issue-based groups, use AskThem to contact elected officials at every level of government. Media companies, partner with us to promote popular questions in your area. Elected officials, sign up as leaders in #opengov.

Remix Our Open Code

We're open-source to the core, contributors to the commons, evangelists for open standards, co-framers of OpenGovData Principles, and activists for liberation of public data. See our wish list, check out our code, and more.

Support Our Public-Mission Work

We're a tiny team with big goals for participatory democracy. Our limiting factor isn't ideas, or a lack of information to make accessible, but rather funding for open-source development. Your support can build amazing new open-source tools. Get in touch.

Our sibling non-profit is the Participatory Culture Foundation,
working for a fairer, more open, and more democratic media space.

See what we're fighting for

PPF Blog

Civic Features to Unwind the Facebook Monopoly

Facebook has become an active threat, its massive profits and user growth driven by the inexorable forces of centralization. With U.S. regulators gutted by decades of bipartisan consensus, Facebook grew unchecked monopoly power through its ad targeting. The company has just barely begun to flex its lobbying muscle in the D.C. influence industry from its lucrative profit stream. Ahead of the 2020 election, it’s metastasized into an existential problem bigger than regulators in rich democracies have had the courage to tackle. Millions of hours have been spent to triage the problem of info silos, hate speech, extremism, misinformation, and disinformation on the unmanageable Facebook. It’s prompted hundreds of emergency conferences of journalists, advocacy groups, lawyers, policy makers, and especially think tanks.

For developers of the open Internet over the past 20 years, the experience of seeing the network effect fueling the astronomical profits of one democracy-destroying corporation has been beyond humbling. From the vantage point of the somewhat-more-tech-optimist days of 2005, of what Anil Dash has rightly called the “lost infrastructure” of open media standards for self-publishing, Facebook is the nightmare scenario of concentrated power. 

Continue reading
Leave a comment