Faceberg COO Sheryl Sandberg had an exclusive interview with Axios. She told Mike ‘Payola’ Allen that Facebook will help investigators looking into Russian election tampering on their network, but they are not changing their business model. You—the user of Facebook—are the product, and you will remain the product that they sell to their customers, the advertisers. Faceberg brings in $34 billion dollars in revenue annually, most of which comes from advertising
- Sandberg held firm to the company’s longstanding hard line on free speech, saying the company would not remove the Russian-linked ads if they were posted by “legitimate people” and not fake accounts. “The thing about free expression is that when you you allow free expression, you allow free expression.”
- Facebook, she said, would have run an ad purchased by Rep. Marsha Blackburn that was blocked on Twitter because of anti-abortion language the platform called inflammatory. “When you cut off speech for one person, you cut off speech for other people.”
- Asked about whether the Trump campaign’s ad targeting overlapped with the targeting used by Russian pages, Sandberg dodged the question multiple times. Instead she offered a defense of the sprawling targeted ad operation that has made Facebook billions.
It’s a very compelling argument to defend free speech so absolutely. I’ve been thinking a lot about that this morning, and while I agree, I also think that a platform with the reach that Facebook enjoys has a responsibility. Our failed media doesn’t have the reach of Facebook and has much more regulatory scrutiny. Sandberg’s argument is like a gun manufacturer claiming that they had no idea a gun could be used to kill people.
They can control ads to the point that they can target left-handed, blue-eyed people who live on the north side of a street. I think that the brilliant engineers of Faceberg can determine who bought the ads and make the ads clear that ads are ads.
Faceberg probably cannot stop the Rage Uncles from intentionally spreading lies and hoaxes, but when discovered, FB can delete those posts, put those authors on probation, or kick them off. Journalists can get canned for making up stories, FB can too.
It’s ridiculous that they don’t take any action.