New Popular Info article describes how completely the post-2016 use of Facebook for political purposes has been compromised beyond foreign ad buys and manipulation by malign actors.
2. "Decisions are made to benefit Republicans because they are paranoid about their reputation among conservative Republicans, particularly Trump," one former Facebook employee who worked in the DC office said https://t.co/5mBoi8301s
— Judd Legum (@JuddLegum) October 17, 2019
In recent months, Facebook has repeatedly taken actions that benefit Republicans and the right-wing. For example:
- Facebook altered the language of its advertising policy to allow political candidates to lie in Facebook ads. The decision benefits Trump, who is spending millions on ads featuring claims that have been debunked by Facebook’s third-party fact-checkers.
- Facebook recruited the Daily Caller, a far-right site founded by Fox News host Tucker Carlson, to become an official fact-checker for Facebook. The decision was made even though the Daily Caller has a history of inaccurate reporting targeting Democrats. No liberal publication was added to Facebook’s fact-checking program.
- Facebook hired former Republican Senator Jon Kyl to produce a report on whether Facebook is biased against conservatives. Facebook did not make any effort to study whether the platform had any bias against liberals.
- Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg invited right-wing pundits to his home to discuss “partnerships” and “free speech.” Invitees included Tucker Carlson, who recently said that immigrants were making America “dirtier,” and Brent Bozell, who said President Obama looked like a “skinny ghetto crackhead.” Zuckerberg does not appear to have met with any liberal pundits.
Why is this happening? Popular Information spoke with three former Facebook employees to find out. All of them pointed to the leadership in Facebook’s powerful DC office.
Zuckerberg’s comments provide the best explanation for the company’s strategy in Washington. The priority is to fend off regulation of the company. Republican lawmakers, who are skeptical of most regulation, are seen as the company’s best allies. So Facebook has assembled a team to keep Republican lawmakers happy, which means keeping Trump happy. The rest of the world is dealing with the consequences.