Facebook is basically in the tank for Trump, says Bloomberg Businessweek
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Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg gets the Alfred E. Neuman treatment on the cover of the Sept. 21 issue of Bloomberg Businessweek—which includes a headline, “What, Me Partisan?,” that plays on Mad Magazine mascot Neuman’s famous catchphrase (“What, Me Worry?”) Alfred E. Zuckerberg, let’s call him, is shown wearing a Make America Great Again hat, while a sarcastic subhead drives home the gist of the cover story: “How a 100% totally super-neutral social platform friended Trump.”
The web version of the story carries the headline “Facebook Needs Trump Even More Than Trump Needs Facebook” (subhead: “Employees fear Zuckerberg’s commitment to free speech is more about protecting the president than the company’s ideals”). The piece opens with an anecdote about Zuckerberg supposedly sucking up to Trump over a private White House dinner (at least according to Trump himself, although tellingly Facebook declined to comment on the anecdote). Bloomberg Businessweek’s Sarah Frier and Kurt Wagner then write that,
Zuckerberg isn’t easily influenced by politics. But what he does care about—more than anything else perhaps—is Facebook’s ubiquity and its potential for growth. The result, critics say, has been an alliance of convenience between the world’s largest social network and the White House, in which Facebook looks the other way while Trump spreads misinformation about voting that could delegitimize the winner or even swing the election. “Facebook, more so than other platforms, has gone out of its way to not ruffle feathers in the current administration,” says Jesse Lehrich, co-founder of Accountable Tech, an organization making recommendations to tech companies on public-policy issues. “At best, you could say it’s willful negligence.”
Further down in the story, Frier and Kurt Wagner add that,
So far, Zuckerberg’s cultivation of Trump has seemed to keep Facebook safe from the president’s ire. But Trump is trailing by 7 points or so nationally, and it’s likely that a Biden administration would seek to regulate Facebook. ... Zuckerberg seems keenly aware of the risks of a Trump loss. He’s told employees that Facebook is likely to fare better under Republicans, according to people familiar with the conversations.
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