Friday, October 18, 2019

Why everyone should get off of Facebook - It's a Trumpublican mouthpiece

Judd Legum exposes The Republican political operatives who call the shots at Facebook. It’s a public post so you can read the whole report. Excerpts follow.

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.

One source said that “Everyone in power is a Republican.”

[For example: Facebook’s Vice President for U.S. Public Policy is Kevin Martin.] His tenure at the FCC is memorialized in a 110-page report produced by the House Energy and Commerce Committee entitled “Deception and Distrust: The Federal Communication Commission under Chairman Kevin J. Martin.” The report found that Martin “manipulated and withheld information from the other FCC commissioners and from Congress, neglected his statutory responsibilities to produce certain information to Congress, and ignored evidence that certain national communications programs were being grossly mismanaged.” According to the report, Martin’s “heavy-handed, opaque, and non-collegial management style…created distrust, suspicion, and turmoil.”

But Facebook was able to overlook Martin’s weaknesses because of his deep commitment to deregulation of the communications industry. Zuckerberg recently described Elizabeth Warren’s proposals to enforce antitrust regulations against Facebook as an “existential” threat to the company.

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.

There are two other right-wingers in the Facebook DC office: Joel Kaplan (“serves as an advocate for right-wing sites on Facebook”) and Katie Harbath (long-time Republican operative now “in charge of Facebook’s election policy, said it [Facebook] ”would allow the Trump campaign ad to run an ad featuring a claim that had been debunked by Facebook’s own fact-checkers"). Check them out in Legum’s Thursday post.

I’m thinking about ditching my Facebook account. A list of alternatives was published by cnet.com in The 10 best Facebook alternatives for Android and iOS. Whether you’re part of the #DeleteFacebook crowd or the ‘Time Well Spent’ movement, these are your best alternatives to the world’s largest social network.

I’d be interested in your thoughts about that. Email me at wsmaki@gmail.com.

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