Facebook executives can no longer pretend they are special people running a special company. Which, until now, they have been – pretending.
Instead Facebook has been revealed as yet another sleazy American company run by normal sleazy people. Who carry out sleazy lobbying and corporate propaganda.
Thanks to some deep reporting by a team of New York Times reporters, we now know that CEO Mark Zuckerberg spent 2017 largely clueless about the monster got lucky with.
And we also know that COO Sheryl Sandberg, in the face of growing scrutiny of the company, was so desperate to repair the leak in the price of Facebook stock that she went into cahoots with a number of suspect figures across American politics.
Including an opposition research shop dabbling in the PR dark arts and Democrat ‘Crying’ Chuck Schumer, who ran interference for the company within his party.
Over the past three years, Facebook has been outed for abusing the trust of its users, sharing personal data with third parties like Cambridge Analytica.
And hosting Russian-backed propaganda intended to undermine American Democracy.
Amplifying calls for religious and ethnic violence in places like Sri Lanka and Myanmar.
And promoting violent authoritarian and nationalist leaders like Rodrigo Duterte in the Philippines and Narendra Modi in India.
As these stories piled up – public trust eroded, the Times reports.
Meanwhile Zuckerberg consistently exempted himself from crucial discussions with the Facebook security team.
He acted generally baffled that anyone would question his personal creation. After all, didn’t he just want, in his words, to “bring the world closer together?”
The Times report makes clear that Zuckerberg and Sandberg played no-cop-bad-cop while troubles rolled in.
Sandberg, a veteran of the Clinton administration and a thoroughly connected member of America’s Democrat corporate and cultural elite, called in all the favors she could.
Crucially, Sandberg also brought in well-paid Republican lobbyists like Joel Kaplan.
Kaplan reportedly led the charge internally to water down Facebook reports about the breadth of Russian attacks on American democracy.
His concern was of angering President Donald Trump, who has the power to kill Facebook at the stroke of his executive pen. Facebook themselves appear not to have realized this.
Meanwhile Sandberg consistently backed Kaplan. And denied the American public a full account of a hostile foreign power’s attempts to influence an election.
Sandberg also reportedly unleashed a propaganda campaign that deeply pollutes Facebook with misinformation about life in America.
Leading to suggestions that it is Facebook themselves who are doing the meddling. No doubt the President will have people looking into that too.
That a public media company allows, and encourages, such vile, personal lies and smears against Donald Trump and his family is troubling, for THEM.
And would be one reason for their share price tanking over the last 12 months. Investors can sense more trouble ahead.
Shocked but not surprised
Perhaps the most disturbing allegation in the Times report is that Facebook tried to link high-profile Facebook critics to Democrat financier George Soros.
Given that Soros is the go-to boogeyman in many recent anti-Semitic campaigns, we should be shocked that Facebook stooped so low.
Facebook boasted of transparency and concern for the health of our communities. But, behind the mask, they covertly played with the Democrat villains who warp and pollute culture and politics.
In October 2017 Facebook quietly admitted that Russian propaganda had been shared with at least 126 million American Facebook users.
It has been concluded that Russian activity in the 2016 election ‘not only infected the news agenda but also tilted the balance of discourse in battleground states.’
Because of Facebook.
As the Times also points out, Democrat leader Chuck Schumer’s daughter is a marketing director at Facebook.
And they report that he told leading Democrats to ‘back off’ from their scrutiny of Facebook.
He said they should be ‘looking for ways to work with Facebook, not harm it.’
Schumer has always been a sleazy politician. But Facebook has not always been a sleazy company. This is a new turn of events.
And the backlash has left Zuckerberg verbally stunned and Sandberg morally stunted.
For most of its history, Facebook made too much money to care about money and had too strong a reputation to care about its reputation. It was golden.
Just as Zuckerberg and Sandberg graced the covers of magazines, Facebook scaled the peaks of the stock market.
What explains the cravenness of Facebook’s leadership now? They must realize, as social media scholars have been warning for many years, that Facebook is vulnerable by design.
All of the scandals the company has been embroiled in appear to have been Democrat Party influenced.
It’s political bent appears to be destroying the company, for the future.
As many as 44% of young people (Millenials) now say they have abandoned Facebook in favour of other Social Media Platforms over the last 12-months.
Facebook is for ‘old’ people now.
Zuckerberg and Sandberg can’t fix it because to fix Facebook is to scrap one or more of these essential attributes. The problem with Facebook is Facebook.
We are stuck in the world Facebook made. It was a terrible idea in the first place, but as long as advertisers, authoritarians, and Chuck Schumer protect it, Facebook will face little significant pressure in most of the world.
All Zuckerberg and Sandberg need to do is ride out this moment, boast about making a good effort to clean the thing up, and keep those campaign contributions flowing.
Facebook may be just fine in the end, but at the expense of Democracy?
Not if President Trump gets his Executive Order pen back out again.
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