Although Trump Isn't Making 2020 Campaign Gear in China, Facebook Let Story Go Viral Anyway


After Donald Trump won in 2016, Facebook vowed to play its part to fight interference in future elections by employing a host of tools and innovations to combat “fake news.”

Although it’s never been proven that a single U.S. voter was persuaded to vote differently due to Russian troll farm propaganda or sensational, click-bait headlines, Zuck and his crew set out to make the world right again (or should I say “left again?”) by nuking the shadowy villain of fake news on social media.

That all sounds good, except that it’s pure BS.

Rather than a deep-seated conviction about the merits of free and robust political speech, it was Facebook virtue-signaling to elites on the left — politicians, tall-building ad agencies, Hollywood, and the mainstream media — that it was apologizing for Donald Trump being in the White House.

Facebook doesn’t care about political transparency or pure democracy at work. It cares that the presidency was won by an outsider who rejected the groupthink of Silicon Valley and made a mockery of the left’s choke-hold on American media.

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If the company cared about fake and misleading news on the newsfeed, why is Facebook letting an anti-Donald Trump story that was debunked months ago still spread like wildfire across its platform?

Because Facebook doesn’t give a rip about fake news if it insults the Orange Man.

The story in question relates to a Reuters report that Donald Trump 2020 campaign banners were being made in China.

Of course, such news could be embarrassing to a president who has both criticized the corrupt advantages of the Chinese economy and boasted in his commitment to the American economy.

Do you think Facebook is politically biased?

The same day of the Reuters report, posted a story titled, “‘Trump 2020’ campaign banners are being proudly produced in . . . China?” The tone of the headline clearly implicates Trump’s campaign as being involved in some hypocritical, nefarious dealings.

If the title wasn’t clear, the feature photo and first sentence made the goal of the article obvious. “Manufacturers are already hard at work churning out banners for President Donald Trump’s 2020 re-election campaign — in China,” the lead stated.

And along with a picture of Asian seamstresses at sewing machines surrounded by what appear to be Trump banners, the MarketWatch article specifically tied the materials to “Trump campaign suppliers” who are “trying to get their orders in before tariffs rise.”

The cheap shot at the president jumps off the page, to the joy of all those that hate him but to the frustration of those who expect more from “objective” media.

Because not only is the article a cheap shot, it just isn’t true.

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A Feb. 15 PolitiFact piece reluctantly explained that there was absolutely no substantiated correlation between the official Trump campaign and the pictured products being produced in China.

In fact, Brad Parscale, Trump’s 2020 campaign manager, told PolitiFact in an email:

“All merchandise made by the Trump campaign are made in the USA. There are thousands of counterfeit items made by scammers. These flags are counterfeit.”

MarketWatch clearly implied some deceitful conspiracy is at hand despite the fact that any Tom, Dick, or Harry can contract with Chinese banner-makers to make Trump 2020 swag. And despite the fact there was zero proof of any kind the banners were connected to Trump’s official campaign. And despite the fact that Trump’s campaign outright denied the report.

However, despite the overwhelming proof the story was definitionally misleading, intentionally deceptive, and, as of the date of this piece, uncorrected or clarified almost a full year after its publication, Facebook is still letting the fake news be shared freely and frequently across its platform.

According to the latest information from CrowdTangle, software (ironically provided by Facebook) that measures social media engagement, the story has been shared on Facebook over 43,000 times, commented on 54,000 times, and received over 120,000 reactions (thumbs up, happy faces, etc.)

And it’s not just old shares and engagement.

A Facebook page named Florida Alliance for Retired Americans reshared the post as recently as July 12 of this year, months after the Market Watch story was debunked. Despite Facebook’s claim that it wants to fight fake news, Facebook let the story go viral a second time. The disproven article garnered over 17,000 engagements across multiple platforms including several thousand more shares on Facebook.

That’s a lot of action for a fake article on a platform “dedicated to fighting fake news.”

Lest you think I’m turning into an advocate of censorship, let me clarify.

I believe America is the greatest nation on earth. I believe in free speech and the rule of law. And I believe MarketWatch has the right to write garbage articles.

I also believe Facebook shouldn’t do a dang thing about said garbage articles. Facebook should let the, ahem… market… sort it out.

But that is not what Facebook is doing. Instead, Facebook is intervening to suppress and censor content that it deems to be fake news. So why is this steaming conspiratorial pile of MarketWatch poo-poo still being circulated on Zuckerberg’s platform?

Because for the media, Hollywood, political elites and the hoodie-wearing man-boys of Silicon Valley, the only news that is fake is the news that hurts the left.

If it shames Trump, maligns the GOP or mischaracterizes conservatives, it is true. Otherwise, it must be lies, lies and more d— lies.

If Facebook is going to take the role of arbiter of truth, then it should realize truth isn’t found only in Silicon Valley or on one side of the political aisle.

If it can’t do that, then Facebook should admit it is simply the biggest and most biased media outlet in the world.

And then let the market sort it out.

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G.S. Hair is the former executive editor of The Western Journal.
G.S. Hair is the former executive editor of The Western Journal and vice president of digital content of Liftable Media.

After graduating law school from the Cecil C. Humphries School of Law, Mr. Hair spent a decade as an attorney practicing at the trial and appellate level in Arkansas and Tennessee. He represented clients in civil litigation, contractual disputes, criminal defense and domestic matters. He spent a significant amount of time representing indigent clients who could not afford private counsel in civil or criminal matters. A desire for justice and fairness was a driving force in Mr. Hair's philosophy of representation. Inspired by Christ’s role as an advocate on our behalf before God, he often represented clients who had no one else to fight on their behalf.

Mr. Hair has been a consultant for Republican political candidates and has crafted grassroots campaign strategies to help mobilize voters in staunchly Democrat regions of the Eastern United States.

In early 2015, he began writing for Conservative Tribune. After the site was acquired by Liftable Media, he shut down his law practice, moved to Arizona and transitioned into the position of site director. He then transitioned to vice president of content. In 2018, after Liftable Media folded all its brands into The Western Journal, he was named executive editor. His mission is to advance conservative principles and be a positive and truthful voice in the media.

He is married and has four children. He resides in Phoenix, Arizona.
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