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George Soros Sets His Sights on Facebook, Zuckerberg: They 'Helped Trump Get Elected'

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Billionaire far-left activist George Soros has accused Facebook of helping President Donald Trump get elected in 2016 and predicted that it would do the same in 2020.

On Jan. 23, Soros described what he believes to be a growing mutually beneficial relationship between Trump and Facebook and the potential implications of it.

“I think there is a kind of informal mutual assistance operation or agreement developing between Trump and Facebook,” he said at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, according to Bloomberg.

“Facebook will work together to re-elect Trump, and Trump will work to protect Facebook so that this situation cannot be changed and it makes me very concerned about the outcome for 2020.”

Andy Stone, a spokesperson for Facebook, responded on Twitter and denied Soros’ claims. “I’ll say it because I think needs to be said,” he wrote. “This is just plain wrong.”

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Bloomberg reported at the time that Soros didn’t offer any evidence to prove his claims, but one week later, the billionaire — who in October said Elizabeth Warren was the ‘most qualified to be president,’ but stopped short of an outright endorsement — wrote an Op-Ed for The New York Times in which he presented the reasoning behind his statements in Switzerland.

Soros argued that the tech giant is putting its interest in maximizing profits over what he believes is the company’s responsibility to regulate information posted on the platform.

Do you think Facebook should regulate information as Soros suggested?

“Facebook helped Trump to get elected and I am afraid that it will do the same in 2020,” Soros claimed to have said during a dinner in Switzerland.

He chastised Facebook for its decision to not fact-check political ads, claiming that it has “flung open the door for false, manipulated, extreme and incendiary statements.”

“Facebook can post deliberately misleading or false statements by candidates for public office and others, and take no responsibility for them,” Soros wrote.

On Sept. 24, 2019, Nick Clegg, Facebook’s VP of Global Affairs and Communications, said that the organization would not send “organic content or ads” from politicians to third-party fact-checking partners.

“We rely on third-party fact-checkers to help reduce the spread of false news and other types of viral misinformation, like memes or manipulated photos and videos,” Clegg said.

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“We don’t believe, however, that it’s an appropriate role for us to referee political debates and prevent a politician’s speech from reaching its audience and being subject to public debate and scrutiny.”

On Friday, Zuckerberg told those at the Silicon Slopes Tech Summit in Utah that the company’s shift from censorship to free speech would likely make many people angry.

“But frankly, the old approach was pissing off a lot of people too,” he said, according to CNN Business, “so let’s try something different.”

Facebook came under fire after President Trump’s victory over former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in 2016 for ads purchased on the platform between June 2015 and May 2017.

In 2017, the social media giant discovered that $100,000 dollars worth of ads were purchased by 470 “inauthentic” pages and accounts that were “likely operated out of Russia.”

It was also criticized for allowing “false news,” which prompted a significant change to its algorithm in 2018.

The change, which included the introduction of third-party fact-checkers, impacted all publishers on its platform and, more significantly so, conservative publishers.

Campbell Brown, Head of News Partnerships at Facebook, said in 2018 that the algorithm change would allow them to better promote “quality news,” which would be identified by Facebook.

“This is not us stepping back from news,” she said. “This is us changing our relationship with publishers and emphasizing something that Facebook has never done before: It’s having a point of view, and it’s leaning into quality news. … We are, for the first time in the history of Facebook, taking a step to try to to define what ‘quality news’ looks like and give that a boost.”

That same year, The Western Journal conducted an analysis that showed the stark difference between the impact on conservative- and liberal-leaning outlets following the 2018 algorithm change.

“This algorithm change, intentional or not, has in effect censored conservative viewpoints on the largest social media platform in the world,” The Western Journal concluded. “This change has ramifications that, in the short-term, are causing conservative publishers to downsize or fold up completely, and in the long-term could swing elections in the United States and around the world toward liberal politicians and policies.”

On Friday, however, Zuckerberg said the ever-increasing requests for censorship have made him feel uncomfortable.

“It kind of feels like the list of things that you’re not allowed to say socially keeps on growing,” he said, according to The Salt Lake Tribune. “And I’m not really OK with that.”

“The last thing I want is for our products to be used to divide people or rip society apart in any kind of way,” he added.

“But at some point, we’ve got to stand up and say, ‘No, we’re going to stand for free expression.’ Yeah, we’re going to take down the content that’s really harmful, but the line needs to be held at some point.”

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has also been critical of Facebook’s recent decision, accusing the company of masking its true motivations behind an embrace of free speech.

“They have, in my view, contorted themselves into making arguments about freedom of speech and censorship which they are hanging onto because it’s in their commercial interests,” she told The Atlantic.

She further claimed Zuckerberg’s recent decisions display an “authoritarian” shift, saying that he has been “somehow persuaded that it’s to his and Facebook’s advantage not to cross Trump.”

Soros ultimately called for the big tech giant, and its leaders, to face accountability for the “false statements” he fears the company’s new policies will allow to exist.

“The responsible approach is self-evident,” he wrote in his Op-Ed. “Facebook is a publisher not just a neutral moderator or ‘platform.’ It should be held accountable for the content that appears on its site.”

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Kayla has been a staff writer for The Western Journal since 2018.
Kayla Kunkel began writing for The Western Journal in 2018.
Birthplace
Tennessee
Honors/Awards
Lifetime Member of the Girl Scouts
Location
Arizona
Languages Spoken
English
Topics of Expertise
News, Crime, Lifestyle & Human Interest




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