A Facebook employee lauded by the Trump campaign in 2016 as an “MVP” is not happy that he helped President Trump’s election strategy.
James Barnes, a former member of Facebook’s political ad sales team, wrote in a Facebook post on November 23 that he was joining ACRONYM, a nonprofit dedicated to advancing the progressive movement. Barnes said that he was going to “defeat” Trump in 2020.
“I woke up like many of you the morning after Trump’s election shocked, upset and scared,” he wrote. In a Wall Street Journal (WSJ) profile, Deepa Seetharaman wrote that Barnes, who previously was a Republican, “registered as a Democrat.”
During 2016, Barnes worked with Trump campaign digital director Brad Parscale, and became, says WSJ, “the Trump campaign’s go-to resource” for figuring out Facebook’s ad tools.
Now, he says, “an attack on one is an attack on all.” Even though Barnes, as a “straight, white, affluent American man,” apparently faces no danger, he believes the Trump presidency has ushered in “[d]ark times.”
“So I’m fighting back,” he said.
Facebook changed its policies after 2016, preventing individual staff members from being embedded in presidential campaigns. But that hasn’t stopped multiple members from getting involved in 2020 Democratic presidential campaigns. Former CMO Gary Briggs has joined Michael Bloomberg’s ad campaign, according to Recode. CEO Mark Zuckerberg advised Mayor Pete Buttigieg’s campaign on people to hire.
Allegedly, according to Business Insider, Barnes had written on Facebook in a post from the summer of 2019 that “‘Make America Great Again’ was about ‘activating the deepest, darkest soul of white nationalism.’”
Barnes finished his post after the WSJ report was released, “Ultimately, I concluded that the best way to move on from the shadow of 2016 was to speak up, contribute my time and talents to the fight to defeat him, and finally stand up for the values that have never been more important to me. So that's what I'm doing.”