Propaganda, foreign influence, and fear mongering did not begin with social media. A simple look at media during the Cold War illustrates this. But unlike traditional media, digital media is a hydra that is nearly impossible control.

If we hang up a digital iron curtain, it will fall.

But concern is increasing: an Axios/SurveyMonkey poll revealed a dramatic and rapid increase in anxiety about Russian meddling in U.S. elections. A majority of Americans – – across party lines – – are now concerned that the government won’t do enough to regulate technology companies or protect data. Moreover, we’ve learned that Russia used more social media platforms, such as Reddit, to place ads to influence the election.

As the founder of a digital media company, I have spent my career in the digital arena. I have seen how the Internet – – and now social media – – create supportive and collaborative communities while giving people a voice they otherwise wouldn’t have. Nonprofit organizations and for-profit businesses benefit  as well. Chilling regulations that would quiet people’s voices and activities are worrisome.

Clint Watts, a Senior Fellow at George Washington University’s Center for Cyber and Homeland Security, testified before the U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary’s Subcommittee on Crime and Terrorism, and expressed an important point when he said that Russian ads amplified existing “political and social divisions.”  He stated,“America’s war with itself has already begun” and referred to a “social media battleground” that could transform us into the “Divided States of America.”

However, alarmist new regulations aimed at social media platforms and their users are not a practical remedy. Social media influence is not merely about ads. It is about people!

Millions of individuals cannot be regulated and investigated one by one.  Even without ads, Russia could create an army of fake Americans citizens to push the desired narrative “organically” on major social media platforms. Should the government then check the citizenship of each individual perceived as trying to influence an election? Do we want it to? A digital iron curtain could be pulled down by malware, changing algorithms, and dynamic technology.

Propaganda is neither new nor original. But Russia, given its history, is especially adept at employing such tactics. And due to our political divisiveness and lack of civil discourse, they already had a leg up. However, after the 2016 election, Americans are aware that political predators use social media. Our guard is up.

Russian ads did not create our political divisions, and to pretend they did is to escape taking responsibility for our own political discourse. The Kremlin’s playbook cleverly used our political vitriol against us. Social media was onlythe vehicle used to do so. Just as Americans have gone through periods of deep distrust of legacy media, digital media content should also be met with a healthy dose of skepticism.

In our efforts to purge social media of Russian bots and trolls, we must not overcorrect. We risk stifling a medium that is far more of a democratizing force than a threat to our political process. Social media is nimble; we cannot simply build a wall around it or hide behind a curtain.  Doing so would threaten our freedoms and further play into the hands of foreign actors.

Americans are rightly concerned about protecting the integrity of our elections. But politicians shouldn’t take advantage of that sentiment in order to get votes to influence their own re-election campaigns.