Friday, March 23, 2018

How Facebook Plays Politics

Remember the kerfuffle over the Podesta emails from the 2016 presidential election, the one that started the whole "Russian election interference" scandal?  In light of the recent revelations of the links between Cambridge Analytica, Facebook and its monstrous database and the Trump campaign and the recent apology by Facebook's CEO Mark Zuckerberg, a look back at the Podesta emails shows us a close link between Zuckerberg and the Clinton campaign, links that should have Facebook users questioning Facebook's trustworthiness when it comes to their personal data in this highly politically charged era. Let's look at some of the emails that were exchanged with the Clinton campaign and the highest levels of Facebook's executive team.

Here is an email dated February 20, 2015 from Clinton aide Cheryl Mills regarding the inclusion of Ms. Sandberg in a meeting to discuss gender and leadership by women one hour before a meeting with Hillary Clinton:

Here is an email exchange from May and June 2015 between John Podesta and Sheryl Sandberg, noting that Hillary Clinton came to visit Ms. Sandberg's children:

Here is an email exchange between Sheryl Sandberg and John Podesta dated August 3, 2013 requesting a meeting between Mark Zuckerberg and John Podesta:

Here is an email exchange dated August 7, 2015 between Mark Zuckerberg, John Podesta and Elliot Schrage, Vice President of Marketing and Public Policy at Facebook regarding the meeting between Mark Zuckerberg and John Podesta that was held as requested in the August 3rd email exchange:

Here is an email dated January 2, 2016 from Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook's Chief Operating Officer to John Podesta, Hillary Clinton's Campaign Manager:

As I am prone to do, here is a look at how much Facebook contributed to the 2016 election campaign and how much the company has spent on lobbying from Open Secrets:

Here is a look at the top recipients from Facebook's 2016 donations noting the size of the donation to Ms. Clinton's campaign compared to the other recipients:

Here is a screen capture showing how much the company has spent on campaign contributions and lobbying so far in the 2018 election cycle:

Here is a look at how much Mark Zuckerberg has donated to political causes:

Here is a listing showing a very small fraction of Sheryl Sandberg's donations to political causes:

Ms. Sandburg also "bundled" a total of $1,098,545 for Ms. Clinton's campaign as shown here, putting her in the top 1129 elites that directed money towards their favourite candidate for President of the United States:

There is a saying "There is no such thing as a free lunch".  While Facebook users may be convinced that their use of the product is "free", in fact, recent developments show that this is a faulty belief.  The cost of using this "free" product is potential reductions in your privacy and the sharing of your personal information.  The recent links between Facebook data and the 2016 election cycle should teach Facebook users who expose the most personal details of their lives to the Menlo Park, California-based company that, given the company's strong Democratic leanings, there is no guarantee that their personal lives won't be used at some time in the future to help Facebook elect its next preferred candidate.  As I have shown in this posting, with its political connections leaning to the left of the spectrum, unless Facebook changes its ways, it is quite possible that Facebook's users will find their data in the hands of the Democrat's next presidential candidate of choice.

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