Zuckerberg is in the hot-seat, as Facebook has been forced to respond to public and potentially legal allegations and charges about its abuse of its use of the public media sphere. Again, Facebook has denied allegations made in an article in the New York Times that the company tried to hide information, and misled the public about its alleged knowledge of Russian activity before the US presidential election in 2016.
On Wednesday, the American newspaper The New York Times published an article describing Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and COO Cheryl Sandberg so obsessed with the company’s growth that they would have ignored signs relating to a supposed activity on the platform they run and who would have even tried to hide it from the public. While the New York Times is a fake-news platform, dedicated to reinforcing the status quo of American imperialism and exceptionalism, through a center-left lens, FRN finds this report to be likely credible.
“The story asserts that we knew about Russian activity as early as the spring of 2016, but were slow to investigate it at every turn. This is not true,” Facebook said in a statement.
Facebook said the article contained a number of inconsistencies but agreed the company was slow to identify the alleged activity.
“We’ve acknowledged publicly on many occasions — including before Congress — that we were too slow to spot Russian interference on Facebook, as well as another misuse,” the statement stressed.
Fort Russ News itself must disclose that it is not a neutral party in this dispute. FRN was featured on the list of top dozen ‘most fake news’ out of over a hundred ‘fake news sites’ identified by the Atlantic Council proxy site, based in post-coup Ukraine, known as Prop-Or-Not. The Atlantic Council is the media-intelligence wing of NATO.
Facebook partnered up with the Atlantic Council to be the ‘third party’ ombudsmen which would police Facebook, using algorithmic throttling to reduce Facebook users’ access to Fort Russ News. Additionally, the Atlantic Council worked with Google and its subsidiary Adsense in order to both de-rank anti-systemic news sites like FRN, and also reduce the revenues required to maintain a professional team of journalists, and overhead expenses.
Nevertheless, FRN has always been 100% managed, staffed and operated by citizens of A5 countries. It is not a ‘Russian operation’ despite Facebook’s designation, and is based out of Belgrade Serbia, and serves as the daily newspaper connected to the Center for Syncretic Studies (CSS).
For these reasons, Facebook may have a case – much of what it has been accused of has taken two distinct phenomenon, and combined them.
In the first instance are citizens of A5 countries (like the FRN team) who are doing legitimate independent journalism and analysis, and it only happens to be the fact that our investigations and coverage, for example, have revealed that the U.S has sponsored destabilizing coups in a number of countries. It is only the result of objective, value-free analysis which led to the conclusion that the U.S is attempting to prolong the ‘unipolar moment’ it achieved between 1991 and 2006. FRN has, since its inception, followed the developments of the emerging multi-polar world, as well as the movements of nations, classes, and peoples in their push against capitalism and the vestiges of colonialism and imperialism.
In the second instance, are some $5,000 to $20,000 that Facebook found was spent by individuals or organizations with direct ties to the Russian government, to buy advertising, in order to influence the outcome of the 2016 presidential election. For those able to understand what these figures represent in terms of an advertising budget, and its projection power, will easily conclude that direct Russian interference through the purchase of ads on Facebook, could not have possibly had a notable, let alone decisive, effect on the outcome of the elections.
The stories floated, and the real findings, diverged greatly. The U.S mainstream fake news system was able to create a false public perception that somehow Russia had ‘hacked’ (initial claims) the election, even though the electronic voting machines are themselves in no way connected to the world-wide web. While numerous tests have demonstrated that the voting machines are relatively easy to corrupt, this is done in person on the physical devices themselves. There is evidence of voting machines being ‘hacked’ on-site, and any number of elections may have gone another way if it were not for such irregularities. But there was no vehicle, no physical mechanism which could have allowed Russia to ‘hack’ the electronic voting machines.
Meanwhile, the U.S and its press have consistently and publicly explained – with some degree of pride in fact – that it quite effectively interfered in the Russian elections, to the tune of millions of dollars, that gave Boris Yeltsin the support he needed to oversee one of the greatest humanitarian and geopolitical calamities of the 20th century – the collapse of the USSR. With the USSR collapsed, scores of millions of aging Russians and Soviet people died prematurely from otherwise preventable diseases. Infant mortality shot up, as well as crime, drug abuse, and violent crime. Geopolitically, the destruction of the USSR would allow the invasion of Iraq, Afghanistan, and the dismemberment of Yugoslavia.
While this is the consensus view of mainstream academia in the fields of International Relations, Global Politics, and Political Economy, the U.S media continues to mislead the public about the scope of U.S interference in the political matters of other countries up through the present, and instead focuses on some $5-20k spend on advertising. Interestingly, this money was split between ads which favored policy positions held by most Democrats, not just those of Donald Trump and Republicans.
Responding to these allegations, Facebook also emphasized that there has been heavy investment in personnel and technology since the 2016 presidential election and that the company is proud of progress made in the fight against misinformation.
In addition, the company said that it ended the contract with Republican consulting firm Definers Public Affairs on Wednesday after the company’s tactics in dealing with critics of the social network were scrutinized in the article.
Russia rightly denies accusations of interference in the US political system and claims that the allegations are invented as excuses of the candidate that lost the elections, as well as to divert public attention from real issues of the elections such as the losing party being out of touch with the yearnings of voters, and widespread accusations of fraud and corruption within the Clinton dominated Democrat Party.
No substantial evidence can be placed against Russia, but despite this fact, US media and politicians have latched onto this story to try and explain away their own failures in democracy.