As US lawmakers demand social media companies show how their platforms were allegedly used by Russia to meddle in the 2016 election, WikiLeaks co-founder tweeted emails that show Facebook executives in direct communication with one candidate’s team.
Beginning on October 7 last year, WikiLeaks published hundreds of emails from the private account of Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman John Podesta. The daily drops continued for a couple days after the November 8 election.
On Thursday, as US media were speculating about “Russian” meddling on Twitter, Facebook and Reddit, Julian Assange tweeted some of the Podesta emails with a reminder that the social network’s leading lights were Clinton fans.
In an email from early January 2016, Podesta wrote to Facebook’s Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg, saying that he was excited to work with her on getting Clinton elected.
“Look forward to working with you to elect the first woman President of the United States,” Podesta wrote. Sandberg replied she was “thrilled” by the progress that Clinton was making.
In February 2015, Podesta was copied on an email from Clinton aide Cheryl Mills, who said she had arranged for Sandberg and her researcher to visit the office and “step through the research on gender and leadership by women.”
That visit took place one hour before a “main meeting” concerning Clinton.
In June 2015, Sandberg wrote an email to Podesta, saying she would “still want HRC to win badly.”
“I am still here to help as I can. She came over and was magical with my kids,” Sandberg wrote.
Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO and founder of Facebook, sent a personal email to Podesta in August 2015, saying he enjoyed spending time with him, and that their conversation gave him “a lot to think about.”
Zuckerberg thanked Podesta for sharing his experiences with the Center for American Progress (CAP), a Democratic think tank founded by Podesta.
Included in the thread was an email to Podesta from Elliot Schrage, the vice president of communications at Facebook, who said Zuckerberg was looking for a way to “direct his wealth to have an impact as great as Facebook” adding that Podesta’s ideas had “really moved his thinking.”
Zuckerberg then asked Podesta if he could reach out in the future to hear his ideas and said he was looking forward to continuing their conversation.
“I hope it’s okay if I reach out as my thinking develops to get your ideas and reactions,” Zuckerberg said. “If there are any other folks you think I should talk to, please let me know.”
Some Twitter users were quick to point out the hypocrisy behind Democrats spending so much time and energy investigating all the major social media sites, desperately searching for any possible collusion between President Donald Trump and Russia, even though Facebook colluded with Clinton.
Several users began tweeting under the hashtag #FaceBookLeaks, hoping to bring attention to the story.