On Wednesday, it was reported that Facebook and its CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, were used by Russian entities to promote Donald Trump during the 2016 presidential election.
Previously, Zuckerberg said it was a “crazy idea” to think that Russians were gaming his platform to try and tip the election for their candidate, Donald Trump.
Given the size, power, and influence of the Facebook platform, it is dangerous for Zuckerberg and Facebook to be so clueless as to how the platform is being used to compromise democracy.
There have been several reports Facebook apologizing for giving “fake metrics” to advertisers.
On the same day that Zuckerberg backtracked on Russia, an analyst highlighted that Facebook is showing it can reach 25 million more Americans than the U.S. Census can account for.
Either Facebook is showing a consistent pattern of deceptive profiteering at massive scale, or its leaders don’t know what’s really going on and can’t be trusted with the power they have.
I put a lot of responsibility for our compromised democracy on the Barack Obama administration.
The administration was lobbied hard by Silicon Valley, and it let big tech run wild without much regulatory oversight during Obama’s eight years in office.
The glossy and magical image that Sheryl Sandberg created in her 2013 book, “Lean In,” needs to be challenged. She is the chief operating officer of Facebook. All the blame for Facebook’s mess and deception can’t all be on Zuckerberg.
Sandberg was considered to be the “grown up” who helped Facebook scale with good corporate governance, but regulators and the American people now need to step in and hold her accountable. They need to supervise how she is running the company.
Here’s an excerpt from the Washington Post story that broke the news about Facebook being used by the Russians:
Representatives of Facebook told congressional investigators Wednesday that the social network has discovered that it sold ads during the U.S. presidential campaign to a shadowy Russian company seeking to target voters, according to several people familiar with the company’s findings.
Facebook officials reported that they traced the ad sales, totaling $100,000, to a Russian “troll farm” with a history of pushing pro-Kremlin propaganda, these people said.
A small portion of the ads, which began in the summer of 2015, directly named Republican nominee Donald Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton, the people said, although they declined to say which candidate the ads favored.
Most of the ads, according to a blog post published late Wednesday by Facebook’s chief security officer, Alex Stamos, “appeared to focus on amplifying divisive social and political messages across the ideological spectrum — touching on topics from LGBT matters to race issues to immigration to gun rights.”