Nothing quite sums up the danger presented by today’s concentration of power in a few social media platforms and the search engine Google than a recent statement by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg that “If one of the candidates, in any of the races, claims victory before there’s a consensus result, then we’re going to add some informational context to that post directly, saying that there’s no consensus result yet.”
We’ve been around politics a long time and we’ve never heard the term “consensus result” before – either your candidate has the most votes and is the winner or he or she is the loser, that’s the whole point of an election.
Zuckerberg seems to think that math – that is counting – is something subject to media company consensus; does two and two equal four? “Let me poll my colleagues in the media on that” says Zuckerberg for all intents and purposes.
But the scariest thing Zuckerberg said in his soliloquy on Axios on HBO was this, “One of the things that I think we and other media need to start doing is preparing the American people… That there’s nothing illegitimate about this election taking additional days or even weeks to make sure that all the votes are counted, in fact, that may be important to be sure that this is a legitimate and fair election.”
CHQ translation: Zuckerberg is preparing the information battlespace for the Democrats’ plan to litigate their way into the White House, even if they lose the count of the legal ballots cast by legally registered voters.
Zuckerberg went on to say that “civil unrest” may occur between the time voting ends and the election is decided, or even after the official results are announced.
“I think that this is important because there is unfortunately, I think a heightened risk of civil unrest in the period between voting and a result being called or after that,” Zuckerberg observed. “I just think that we need to be doing everything we can to reduce the chances of violence or civil unrest in the wake of this election.”
Zuckerberg went on to explain, “We’re trying to make sure that we do our part that none of this is organized on Facebook, we want to make sure none of that stuff is happening on our services… But you know, the country is very charged right now, so I think regardless of what we do, there’s some chance that this happens across the country.”
What Zuckerberg might define as “civil unrest” after the election is anyone’s guess, but one thing is for sure, it will not be interpreted to prohibit the Far Left from organizing riots when Donald Trump wins a second term.
And his statement is even more interesting given that Mr. Zuckerberg and his company have done next to nothing to curb the violence generated by ANTIFA, that began in Portland, Oregon the day after the 2016 election and has been going on for almost four years, and the violence generated by BLM, that has broken out with regularity ever since the Michael Brown shooting in 2014, both terrorist organizations maintain a robust presence on Facebook. In a blog post reported by Wired, Zuckerberg went even further in outlining his plans to manipulate the 2020 election, which include a new Voting Information Center and plans to censor candidate communications in the last week of the election.
According to Gilad Edelman, Wired's politics writer, Zuckerberg claims the censorship is justified because “in the final days of an election there may not be enough time to contest new claims.” The move drew howls from campaign operatives across the political spectrum, Edelman reported. They complained that political ads are in fact their best tool for contesting false information online. The ban on new ads, they argue, will keep them from responding to any fresh organic disinformation put out on the platform right before the election.
Eric Wilson, a Republican digital strategist, said that in 2017 he was working for a primary campaign and complained to Facebook about false information being spread by the opponent. “Their advice to us was, ‘Run ads to tell your side of the story,’” he said. “That’s what’s so infuriating about this. Disinformation spreads farther and faster than the facts. And so paid advertising is the only way to counteract that effect and supplement the reach.”
Loren Merchan, a Democratic strategist, said that the problem is particularly acute for lower-profile campaigns. “Trump might get coverage when he attacks a down-ballot candidate because he’s Trump, but then the down-ballot candidate and their counter-information doesn’t get the same coverage,” she said.
The way we see it Mark Zuckerberg’s appearance on Axios and his blog post are the two best reasons we have seen for a lawsuit by a campaign or the government claiming that Facebook has pierced the veil of Section 230 and has become a de facto publisher and should forfeit the liability protections afforded to “platforms.”We urge CHQ readers and friends to call their Senators to urge them to co-sponsor Sen. Josh Hawley’s “Ending Support for Internet Censorship Act” and the “Online Freedom and Viewpoint Diversity Act.” The toll-free Capitol switchboard is (1-866-220-0044), call today.
Black Lives Matter
Voting Information Center
Ending Support for Internet Censorship Act
Online Freedom and Viewpoint Diversity Act