That manipulation isn’t confined to the web, it seems; it apparently extends into the real world.
After whistleblower Frances Haugen alleged that Facebook manipulates its users and knowingly disregards its negative impact on children, Facebook sent lobbyists and other staffers to convince both Democrats and Republicans that taking action against the platform would serve the opposing party, according to a Wall Street Journal report.
In other words, Facebook employees were reportedly running a real-life political manipulation effort that mirrored the kind of political feuds the company stokes for profit online.
Here’s how the Wall Street Journal described Facebook’s scheme:
To lawmakers and advocacy groups on the right, according to people familiar with the conversations, their message was that Ms. Haugen was trying to help Democrats. Within hours, several conservative news outlets published stories alleging Ms. Haugen was a Democratic activist.
Later, Facebook lobbyists warned Democratic staffers that Republicans were focused on the company’s decision to ban expressions of support for Kyle Rittenhouse, the teenager who killed two people during unrest in Kenosha, Wis., and who was later acquitted of homicide and other charges.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Facebook aimed to “muddy the waters” and “divide lawmakers along partisan lines and forestall a cross-party alliance that was emerging to enact tougher rules on social-media companies in general and Facebook in particular.”
That would mean Meta was trying to block regulation at the exact time it was airing commercials claiming regulation was necessary. And fundamentally, this all means Facebook employees were sowing disunity for the company’s benefit — behavior remarkably similar to what Haugen described during her congressional testimony in October.
It’s no exaggeration to say logging out of your Facebook account could help save democracy. By dislodging yourself from its social media-induced malaise, you may take one step toward becoming a happier, less conspiratorial person.
If nothing else, your condemnation or criticism of the platform and its parent company would go far in rooting out their manipulative influence over global and national politics.
Head over to The ReidOut Blog for more.