It’s almost surprising how many people have forgotten how, shortly after the election, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said you’d have to be “crazy” to think that Facebook’s platform – by helping to spread “fake news” – had helped sway the vote in favor of President Donald Trump.
Unfortunately, sanctimonious Democrats are impervious to basic logic when it comes to assessing the overall impact that $100,000 in ad buys had on the election (it's a drop in the bucket in terms of overall spending).
However, in yet another delicious irony tied to the “Russian collusion” narrative, CNN has reported that the top lawyer for the Hillary Clinton campaign had represented Facebook back in 2011 when it petitioned the FEC to grant it a waiver from federal elections laws requiring advertisers to disclose who purchased the ads.
Presumably, such rules would've made it more difficult for the purported Russia-linked agents to mask their affiliations.
Marc Elias, a partner at the D.C.-based Perkins Coie law firm, was part of a legal team that represented Facebook in 2011 as they fought against adding disclosures on political ads on their platform in front of the Federal Election Commission. That battle resulted in a split 3-3 vote on whether to grant the waiver, effectively allowing the company to display the ads without any disclaimers about who paid for them – a policy that Zuckerberg abandoned last week in favor of one that allows for “greater transparency” as he faced a firestorm of criticism from leftists who now apparently believe he’s to blame for the Trump presidency.
According to CNN, the FEC had previously awarded a similar dispensation to Google, which had made a similar request about political ads running on its platform.
The disclosure supports the notion that Zuckerberg's about-face on the effectiveness of Facebook's political ads was chiefly about avoiding regulations threatened by Sen. Mark Warner, not about the facts.
“Not only will you have to disclose which page paid for an ad, but we will also make it so you can visit an advertiser's page and see the ads they're currently running to any audience on Facebook,” Zuckerberg said during a livestream after the company announced that it would be sharing the 3,000 questionable ads with Congressional investigators, who in turn will share them with Special Counsel Mueller’s campaign.
While it might not seem important at first, the disclosure of the Elias-Facebook link reaffirms that top executives at Facebook implicitly supported Hillary Clinton’s bid for presidency, and still did nothing to prevent potential “abuses” of the platform by foreign powers…because they simply didn’t believe that ads running on their platform were effective enough to have any kind of lasting impact.
Last year, we reported on an email exchange between Clinton Campaign Manager John Podesta and Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg where Sandberg confirmed her support for Clinton. Perhaps this is what President Trump was referring to when he tweeted earlier this week that both Facebook and the mainstream media actively worked against him during the campaign.
So, which is it? Does Facebook possess some sinister capacity to sway elections? Or are Facebook ads equivalent to “small items” like buttons and stickers, like Elias had claimed back in 2011?
You’ll have to figure that one out for yourself.