March 16, 2018
While many leftists in the United States are still screeching about “election meddling” by Russia, they may want to take a long look at Facebook. The social media giant actually hid webpages and bragged about its ability to influence elections.
According to The Intercept, when Mark Zuckerberg was asked if Facebook had influenced the outcome of the 2016 presidential election, the founder, and CEO dismissed the notion that the site even had such power as “crazy.” It was a disingenuous remark. Facebook’s website had, in fact, an entire section devoted to touting the “success stories” of political campaigns that used the social network to influence electoral outcomes. That page, however, is now gone, even as the 2018 congressional primaries get underway.
On the heels of a public reckoning with Facebook’s unparalleled ability to distribute information, obvious censorship, and global anxiety over election meddling, bragging about the company’s ability to run highly effective influence campaigns (propaganda campaigns) probably doesn’t look very good for Facebook.
The social media giant’s “success stories” page is a monument to the company’s dominance of online advertising. It provided users with examples from almost every imaginable industry of how the use of the social network gave certain players an advantage. “Case studies like these inspire and motivate us,” the page crows. Current examples include CoverGirl (“promoting a beauty brand makeover with video ads on Facebook and Instagram”) and Tropicana (“Facebook video ads elevate fruit juice brand awareness”). Not so controversial…anymore. Because Facebook hid the part where they influenced elections.
The case studies that Facebook used to list from political campaigns, however, included more interesting claims. Facebook’s work with Florida’s…