• Flux Magazine

"The Truth in the Age of Facebook" by Jeffrey Aviña

Facebook; where friends, family, relatives, white supremacists, neo-nazis, and your fourth-grade teacher who always seemed a little off can go to connect and share ideas with the community around them. Created as a college precursor to tinder, Facebook has become so much more than that. In 2016, Facebook became a tool used by Russia to influence the United States' general election to elect Donald Trump as president and now that we get closer to 2020, it seems to be happening again.

Facebook founder and creator, Mark Zuckerberg, announced that Facebook would be changing its ad policy giving free rein to politicians and their campaigns. Under this new policy, Facebook is limited in the type of political material that they can police on their site. Under this new policy, the Trump campaign posted an ad to Facebook saying that Joe Biden offered Ukraine one billion dollars if they pushed out the man who was "allegedly" investigating the company that Hunter Biden was tied too. The Biden campaign asked Facebook to remove the ad but declined to do so in a letter, "Our approach is grounded in Facebook's fundamental belief in free expression, respect for the democratic process, and the belief that in mature democracies with a free press, political speech is already arguably the most scrutinized speech there is."

The clear and blatant partnership between the Trump campaign and Facebook has not gone unnoticed to the other Democratic candidates. Earlier this week, Senator Elizabeth Warren took to twitter and directly addressed Facebook's decision by saying that Facebook is actively helping Trump spread lies and misinformation to get him re-elected.

But why is Facebook doing this? Mark Zuckerburg claims that he is acting in the best interest of free expression and that he fears a world where tech companies are in control of what can and can't be said on social media. While this may be true, there might be more to it than just the civil liberties of the American people.

Over the last four years, Mark Zuckerberg has been meeting with many top republican officials to talk about some problems that concern the republican party. These meetings would take place at one of the many homes that Zuckerberg owns in California according to reporting done by Politico. Within these meetings, those in attendance discussed free expression, the unfair treatment of conservatives, and the appeals process for censored speech. Critics of Zuckerberg say that the reason that he is doing this is to not garner any more negative attention from the Trump administration since his threat to sue and break up the company back in June.

So where does that leave us? According to Zuckerberg, he believes that he is fighting for the free expression of people on the internet, but that isn't what he is fighting for. What he is fighting for is for the right of one man to say whatever he wants, when he wants, about whoever he wants at the expense of the truth being stepped on like yesterday's paper. The truth dies when you replace it with Trump checks.

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