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COMMENTARY OF THE DAY
By
Robert Namer
Voice Of America
©2019 All rights reserved
October 12, 2019

     Facebook needs to be split.  This week, Facebook is embroiled in a different kind of election interference scandal. The current controversy stems from two separate but related events. The first revolves around leaked audio of Mark Zuckerberg speaking privately to employees at recent town hall meetings, where he called Senator Elizabeth Warren’s plans to break up Facebook an “existential” threat to the company and one he would fight. The second is a recent announcement by Facebook that it is exempting political figures from its policy forbidding spreading misinformation in advertisements (yes, politicians spreading false claims in their ads is just a part of the political conversation, according to Facebook).

     Both developments have attracted the ire of Warren who, in a series of tweets this week, argued that the public has a right to know how Facebook “intends to use their influence in this election” and implied that Mr. Zuckerberg and Facebook might be intentionally emboldening the Trump campaign by relaxing advertising rules. Fellow Democrats echoed the concerns: Seema Nanda, C.E.O. of the Democratic National Committee, told CNN that the social network’s ad policy “is a serious missed opportunity by Facebook.” At the same time, old fears that the company’s “I Voted” button, which has proved effective at boosting get-out-the-vote efforts, could give an outsize advantage to Mr. Trump are recirculating.

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