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January 9, 2020 PM
Late last year Trump and Zuckerburg had a private White House lunch. The resulting conversation has yet to be divulged and seems to be cloaked in secrecy. Now just days after this supposed impromptu lunch Facebook and its upper-management have a divergent narrative as opposed to the replies and promises made to congress earlier.
In a memo obtained by The New York Times and publicly posted, Facebook executive, Andrew Bosworth says the company’s platform was responsible for electing Donald Trump president in 2016, but he warned employees against using the company’s power to stop Trump’s reelection in 2020.
The summary memo is below.
Thoughts for 2020
The election of Donald Trump immediately put a spotlight on Facebook. While the intensity and focus of that spotlight may be unfair I believe it isn’t unjust. Scrutiny is warranted given our position in society as the most prominent of a new medium. I think most of the criticisms that have come to light have been valid and represent real areas for us to serve our community better. I don’t enjoy having our flaws exposed, but I consider it far better than the alternative where we remain ignorant of our shortcomings.Andrew Bosworth – Facebook
Misinformation was also real and related but not the same as Russian interference. The Russians may have used misinformation alongside real partisan messaging in their campaigns, but the primary source of misinformation was economically motivated. People with no political interest whatsoever realized they could drive traffic to ad-laden websites by creating fake headlines and did so to make money. These might be more adequately described as hoaxes that play on confirmation bias or conspiracy theory. In my opinion this is another area where the criticism is merited. This is also an area where we have made dramatic progress and don’t expect it to be a major issue for 2020.
The company Cambridge Analytica started by running surveys on Facebook to get information about people. It later pivoted to be an advertising company, part of our Facebook Marketing Partner program, who other companies could hire to run their ads. Their claim to fame was psychographic targeting. This was pure snake oil and we knew it; their ads performed no better than any other marketing partner (and in many cases performed worse). I personally regret letting them stay on the FMP program for that reason alone. However at the time we thought they were just another company trying to find an angle to promote themselves and assumed poor performance would eventually lose them their clients. We had no idea they were shopping an old Facebook dataset that they were supposed to have deleted (and certified to us in writing that they had).
So was Facebook responsible for Donald Trump getting elected? I think the answer is yes, but not for the reasons anyone thinks. He didn’t get elected because of Russia or misinformation or Cambridge Analytica. He got elected because he ran the single best digital ad campaign I’ve ever seen from any advertiser. Period.
The memo in its entirety HERE.
With that admission in the open, it behooves responsible people to beware of Zuckerburg and his products. The platforms he has created and bought bring an enormous value in entertainment and social communication, but at what cost. I am aggressively soliciting visitors to regularly visit InnerKwest and comment. Just know every keystroke made on the dominant social platforms is money in the bank with no return to the African-American community. The social media giants have the audacity to have a nil amount of African-Americans in their employ and the individuals that work there complain of draconian discrimination.
Be forewarned. Facebook WILL help Trump get re-elected. They now have stated as much. Blogs such as InnerKwest is a safeguard to blatant fake news and fake videos. We are already being bombarded by Russian troll comments.
My intention is not to compete with the major platforms, but to be a place visitors can speak freely without being silenced because of the biased prerogatives of the giant social media owners. Again, “Be A Part and Not Apart”.