A few months ago, a leaked internal memo from Facebook confirmed what conservatives had suspected: Yes, Donald Trump had used social media to win in 2016. No, he hadn’t cheated.
His campaign had just managed to master social media advertising.
“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,” Facebook Vice President Andrew Bosworth wrote in a rambling memo.
“They weren’t running misinformation or hoaxes,” he added.
“They weren’t microtargeting or saying different things to different people. They just used the tools we had to show the right creative to each person. The use of custom audiences, video, ecommerce, and fresh creative remains the high water mark of digital ad campaigns in my opinion.”
Trump’s campaign, in short, managed to figure out how social media advertising worked.
So now the left wants political advertising banned from social media in the name of fairness.
Twitter’s already caved (not that it needed much pressure to do so) and banned political advertising.
Facebook has declined, rightly noting that such a move wouldn’t be neutrality but a gift to whoever the Democratic nominee is.
This has brought forth no small amount of stuck-hippo whining from the left, with the latest bleater being far-left billionaire activist George Soros.
Facebook isn’t listening to him, so now Soros says that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg should be removed from their positions.
Facebook’s response, short version: “[H]e’s wrong.”
In a letter to the editor in Tuesday’s Financial Times, The Hill reported, Soros said it was time for “more regulation of Big Tech,” arguing that Facebook, a social media giant with a decided liberal bent, was involved in a “mutual assistance arrangement” with Trump in order to re-elect the president.
This is an evidence-free conspiracy theory — and one he first advanced at Davos, essentially making him the world’s richest Alex Jones type.
“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,” he said last month at the forum for the world’s thick, unaccountable and ultra-connected, according to The Hill.
Then as now, he offered no evidence for this theory.
— Ryan Heath (@PoliticoRyan) January 23, 2020
In his most recent missive to The Financial Times, the increasingly crankish Soros said that Facebook is “obfuscating the facts by piously arguing for government regulation.”
“Facebook does not need to wait for government regulations to stop accepting any political advertising in 2020 until after the elections on November 4,” Soros said.
“If there is any doubt whether an ad is political, it should err on the side of caution and refuse to publish.”
Even Soros concludes this is “unlikely.”
“Therefore, I repeat my proposal, Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg should be removed from control of Facebook.”
Oh, to be in The Financial Times newsroom when the final draft of this one came in over email.
George Soros may wield more power than, say, me, but that’s still not enough gravitas to demand both of Facebook’s most visible figures actually be removed from the company because he doesn’t like the fact they’re not actively working to defeat Trump.
Apparently, nothing can possibly convince Soros the world isn’t his suzerainty.
Facebook, you may be surprised, isn’t quite on board with Soros’ plans for them.
“While we respect Mr. Soros’ right to voice his opinion, he’s wrong,” a Facebook spokesperson told The Hill.
“The notion that we are aligned with any one political figure or party runs counter to our values and the facts. We continue making unprecedented investments to keep our platform safe, fight foreign interference in elections around the world, and combat misinformation.”
I assure you that I have plenty of issues with Facebook as a platform inasmuch as they enjoy putting their thumb on the scales just like every other company in Silicon Valley does.
The difference is that they seem to have some level of shame about how much thumb they’re willing to use.
Here, for instance, is the Bosworth memo again, where the self-described liberal explains why he wouldn’t intervene to make things more difficult for the Trump campaign: “I find myself thinking of the Lord of the Rings at this moment. Specifically when Frodo offers the ring to Galadrial [sic] and she imagines using the power righteously, at first, but knows it will eventually corrupt her,” he wrote.
“As tempting as it is to use the tools available to us to change the outcome, I am confident we must never do that or we will become that which we fear.”
Leaving behind the chortles a Facebook executive invoking LOTR creates, this isn’t inaccurate.
Yes, we all get that Silicon Valley doesn’t like Trump.
There’s also the uncomfortable fact that the Trump campaign has managed to use the digital medium better than any other campaign — and not through trickery, either.
The answer isn’t to shut them down, lest the tech industry lower itself even further.
Yet, to the Soroses of the world, they’re not doing enough to stop conservatives, specifically President Trump, which means they’re in league with them.
This apparently means we have to replace Zuckerberg and Sandberg, assumedly with Ralph Nader and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
At least we can be assured Soros’ totalitarian suggestion has no chance of succeeding.
The fact he would even put it forward, however, is telling.
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