Skip to comments.Facebook reeling after damning NYT report
Posted on 11/15/2018 10:06:57 PM PST by yesthatjallen
Facebook is being hit with fresh criticism from Capitol Hill as lawmakers reacted harshly Thursday to a New York Times investigation that detailed the companys efforts to wield influence in Washington after becoming aware of Russia-linked activity on its platform during the 2016 presidential campaign.
The explosive article laid out how Facebooks leadership was reluctant to confront the Russian efforts on its platform and was unprepared for the subsequent firestorm and fallout, which involved the Cambridge Analytica scandal. Specifically, the Times reported that the tech giant used a Republican opposition research firm called Definers Public Affairs to accuse liberal financier George Soros of funding some of the groups that were speaking out against Facebook as it faced public scrutiny over its handling of both the Russian disinformation campaigns and the Cambridge Analytica debacle.
On Thursday, a group of Senate Democrats Amy Klobuchar (Minn.), Richard Blumenthal (Conn.), Chris Coons (Del.) and Mazie Hirono (Hawaii) requested that the Justice Department "expand any investigation into Facebook and Cambridge Analytica to include whether Facebook or any other entity affiliated with or hired by Facebook retaliated against critics or public officials seeking to regulate the platform, or hid vital information from the public."
The Times story is likely to fuel some Democratic lawmakers' calls to regulate the platform and others, as many in the party have become furious over the string of data privacy breaches and what they see as a lack of accountability in the industry.
Its alarming, its appalling, Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) told The Hill. It shows that they were not behaving like a neutral platform. It shows that they were engaged in information operations. That they have engaged in a strategy to avoid any oversight or regulations. This is what you get when an American corporation gets so big and is exempted from any meaningful oversight.
The social network on Thursday moved into damage control mode, first by issuing a statement saying the New York Times story contained a number of inaccuracies. Later, CEO Mark Zuckerberg spoke to reporters on a conference call.
I've said many times before that we were too slow to spot Russian interference, too slow to understand it and too slow to get on top of it, Zuckerberg said. And we certainly stumbled along the way. But to suggest that we weren't interested in knowing the truth or that we wanted to hide what we knew or that we tried to prevent investigations is simply untrue.
Facebook also defended the work by Definers, saying it was reprehensible and untrue to suggest that linking Soros to Facebooks critics was anti-Semitic.
The company terminated its contract with the firm on Thursday following the storys publication, and on the call with reporters, Zuckerberg emphasized that he and Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg were not aware of Definers work on their companys behalf.
This type of firm might be normal in Washington, but it's not the kind of thing I want Facebook to be associated with which is why we're no longer going to be working with them, Zuckerberg said.
Color of Change, one of the groups that Definers reportedly targeted on behalf of Facebook, condemned what it said was anti-Semitism when Definers emphasized the Soros connection to groups speaking out against Facebook.
Facebook's response to our campaign, which challenged them to improve their platform and create safe conditions for Black people and other marginalized groups, was to fan the flames of anti-Semitism, Rashad Robinson, the groups president, said in a statement Thursday. By suggesting to reporters that Color Of Change is acting as the puppet of Mr. Soros merely because he is one of our many funders, they have given oxygen to the worst anti-Semitic conspiracy theories of the white nationalist Trump base.
The Times story also implicated lawmakers on Capitol Hill. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) intervened on Facebooks behalf as the company was facing a firestorm on the Hill over the Cambridge Analytica scandal and Russian internet campaigns to sow discord among the U.S. electorate, according to the Times.
Schumer reportedly told Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.), the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, which has been leading the probe into Russian interference, to back off his criticism of Facebook, where Schumer's daughter works. Warner has been an outspoken critic of Facebook and other internet platforms since 2016 and has proposed a number of ways to crack down on them.
On Thursday, he declined to discuss whether Schumer asked him to tone down his remarks about the company.
I'm not going to talk about any private conversations I had with the Leader, Warner told reporters. I can just say this ... he was very aware of the fact that our committee has been relentless and still have a lot of questions that need to be answered.
A Senate source familiar with the meeting between the two senators told The Hill that Schumer advised Warner to focus his efforts on election interference out of concern that Facebook would bow to pressure from the right to forgo purging the network of fake Russian accounts and bots.
Let's take every opportunity to remind them it was Russian ads on Facebook that cost Hillary the White House and it was Jeff Zuckerberg who told Democrats it was a 'cray idea' that the Russian ads influence the election.
The idea that Facebooks fake news problem could have influenced the result of the 2016 presidential elections is a crazy idea, the social networks co-founder and chief executive said Thursday.
Reeling? Maybe they mean FB is reeling in new users. Because the stock is not appreciably down from where it was before the NYT report came out.
Somehow, these rats are planning to implicate Trump here.
Bull hockey. We knew Soros was a schmuck when FB was a twinkle in Suckerbird’s eye.
Never forget that Zuckerberg is actually Soros version 2.0
We can capitalize on this by reminding them Zuckerberg originally laughed off any claims Russian Facebook ads influenced the election in anyway.
That made them even angrier at the time and Facebook quickly 'conceded' Facebook was wrong to accept money for the Russian ads.
Too little too late. Democrats still blame Facebook and Democrats want revenge through regulations.
Just nationalize it and hand it over to the Bureau of Weights and Measures since the left love communism so much.
I have always been suspicious of Facebook, and neve joined.
I hate to admit it, but I am sorry it took so long for users to see exactly what this horrid, manipulator was.
Democrats are now the ones screaming for regulations imposed on Facebook.
It wasn’t Russian ads that influenced me.
And I am not alone.
Democrats believe the Russian Facebook ads influenced the election and they want revenge.
This is Brer Rabbit begging not to be thrown into the briar patch.
The FB goal all along is justifying and expanding the censorship of conservatives. So NYT shows up and scolds them for allowing “Russian fake news”. FB reluctantly agrees and cooperates with lawmakers who INSIST they “clean up their act”.
FB goes full flamethrower on conservative nationalists with the blessings of the NYT crowd and the congress.
“don’t throw me into that briar patch!”
That’s because some people are influence by ads \
Pay attention and research and then vote.
Democrats aren't laughing. Democrats believe it:
As computer guys are wont to say, if it’s free, YOU are the commodity.
Did they think Fakebook was doing this out of the goodness of their hearts, or would be satisfied with advertising money when they have a humongous chunk of big date to sort through and sell?
Dems will legislate to get full control of FB, then they will be appeased.
Facebook has suspended a Boston-based analytics firm as the company probes the types of data the firm harvested from the Facebook platform and whether Crimson Hexagon's contracts with the U.S. government...... and its nonprofit tied to Russia's government...... violate company policies.
Representatives for Facebook told the WSJ that the company was previously unaware of some of the contracts held by the firm. Crimson Hexagon, advertises itself as the holder of more than one trillion social media posts scraped from Facebook.........and other social media sites.
Facebook has a responsibility to help protect peoples information, which is one of the reasons why we have tightened access to users' personal information, Facebook's VP for partnerships Ime Archibong told the Journal. He added that Facebook allows firms like Crimson Hexagon to produce anonymized insights for business purposes. A separate spokesman for the company told the Journal that based on our investigation to date, Crimson Hexagon did not obtain any Facebook or Instagram information inappropriately.
Crimson Hexagon's chief technology officer Chris Bingham told the Journal that his company does not collect private information, adding that they are working together to resolve the issue as quickly as possible. The two companies plan to meet in the upcoming days.
U.S. government agencies paid Crimson Hexagon more than $800,000 for 22 separate contracts in the past four years, according to the Journal. The company has also worked with companies based in foreign countries including Russia and Turkey, the Journal reported.
Facebook responded to a firestorm of criticism earlier this year when it was revealed that another firm, Cambridge Analytica, had obtained the personal information of tens of millions of users without their knowledge or consent. The firm worked with the Trump campaign during the 2016 election, though it says it did not use the collected data during that time.
It’s pretty obvious at the point that anything that anyone does or fails to do that might help Republicans, at least Trump-supporting ones, win an election is at least unethical and immoral if not flat out illegal, and anything that anyone does or fails to do that might help a Democrat win an election is by definition ethical, moral and completely legal, regardless of what relevant laws might say.
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