Democrats and the media have blamed Facebook for President Trump’s win in 2016. Now Facebook is firing back.
Facebook Vice President of AR/VR Andrew Bosworth wrote an internal memo defending Trump’s 2016 campaign. He wrote, “Parscale and Trump just did unbelievable work. They weren’t running misinformation or hoaxes. They weren’t microtargeting or saying different things to different people.” Bosworth also confessed that although it was “tempting” to use Facebook’s tools to “change the outcome” of the 2020 election, the company must “never do that.”
“As a committed liberal I find myself desperately wanting to pull any lever at my disposal to avoid the same result,” said Bosworth. This implication, that a “lever” within Facebook exists that would stop Trump from getting elected in 2020, is troubling.
Bosworth compared this “lever” to the ring from Lord of the Rings. He referred to a scene from the film: “Specifically when Frodo offers the ring to Galadrial and she imagines using the power righteously, at first, but knows it will eventually corrupt her.”
“Facebook has at least five methods for shifting opinions and votes,” said researcher Dr. Robert Epstein to the Epoch Times. “If on election day in 2016, if Mark Zuckerberg had decided to send out a ‘go vote’ reminder just to Democrats or people leaning left, that would’ve given Hillary Clinton that day at least 450,000 more votes than she got.” Epstein said that he did not believe that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg did this, but the power for Facebook to do so existed.
“Donald Trump Won Because of Facebook,” wrote the NYMag’s Intelligencer on November 9, 2016. The House Intelligence Committee called Facebook, Google, and YouTube to testify about the Russian interference in 2017.
In the Facebook memo, which was leaked to The New York Times, Bosworth dismissed the notion that Russian interference on Facebook was what led to Trump’s victory. “$100,000 in ads on Facebook can be a powerful tool,” he wrote, “but it can’t buy you an American election, especially when the candidates themselves are putting up several orders of magnitude more money on the same platform.”
Bosworth denied any love for Trump, claiming “I donated the max to Hillary.” (A glance at Opensecrets.org confirms this statement.) However, he believed that “my fellow liberals are a bit too, well, liberal when it comes to calling people Nazi’s.”
He stated, “If we change the outcomes without winning the minds of the people who will be ruled then we have a democracy in name only. If we limit what information people have access to and what they can say then we have no democracy at all.”
The Times reported that multiple unnamed Facebook employees left comments on the internal post. They apparently “debated whether Facebook should ban or remove posts by politicians, including Mr. Trump, that included hate speech or forms of misinformation.”
Former Facebook Chief Security Officer Alex Stamos tweeted in response, “I don’t like Boz’s (and the Times, implicitly) framing controls on political ads as having a partisan impact.” There was no denial of the “lever” that Bosworth spoke of, however.