Why does Facebook spread right wing disinformation ignoring its own policies? Follow the connections.
Popular Info exposed how the DC Enquirer gets so much exposure on Facebook. There are several groups, a network of Facebook pages coordinating behavior and several Republican operatives in key Facebook executive positions. This relationship maps helps understand how Facebook ignores its own policies to spread right wing disinformation.
Check your knowledge with this relationship map.
- Which Facebook VP took part in the Roger Stone organized riot to overturn the Bush-Gore election recount?
- Which Facebook exec led Rudy Giuliani’s 2008 presidential campaign and the Republican National Committee?
- Which right wing commentator prosecuted for violating federal campaign finance laws did Trump pardon?
- Does Facebook officially prohibit "coordinated inauthentic behavior"?
- How are the the DC Enquirer and the Conservative Brief related?
- Did Mark Zuckerberg really host Tucker Carlson at his home?
Facebook - Right wing connections
"A far-right website created 36 days ago is more popular on Facebook than the Washington Post. Brandon Gill "provides strategic marketing direction for Conservative Brief," the right-wing website whose underhanded tactics were exposed in yesterday's Popular Information. But he is also the founder and editor of his own website, DC Enquirer. The DC Enquirer website was registered on January 8, 2022. The first article was posted on January 19, 2022 — just 36 days ago. The site is so new that you can't find it by Googling its name.
The content is unremarkable, aggregated pieces designed to push the buttons of the right. Recent headlines include "Republican Party Ditches RINO Views in Favor Pro-Trump Populism, Now Starting to Win Over Hispanic Voters" and "Chilling New Meme Shows Us The Future The Left Wants and It’s Devastating." But in just over a month, the DC Enquirer has become more popular on Facebook than the Washington Post. Its rapid success on Facebook is the result of an audacious scheme to manipulate the Facebook algorithm." - Judd Legum in Popular Info
Joel Kaplan, Facebook VP of U.S. public policy
"A former clerk for conservative Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, he served as a White House deputy chief of staff under President George W. Bush after participating in the Brooks Brothers riot during the 2000 Florida presidential election dispute." BuzzFeed News
"Facebook hired Kaplan as its vice president of U.S. public policy in 2011, as part of a Facebook's effort to "strengthen" the company's ties to Republican lawmakers.
Within the company, Kaplan advocated against restrictions on racially incendiary speech. He played an important role in crafting an exception for newsworthy political discourse when deciding on whether content violated the community guidelines. During the 2016 election, Kaplan advocated against closing down Facebook groups which allegedly peddled fake news. Kaplan argued that getting rid of the groups would have disproportionately targeted conservatives. During and after the 2016 US presidential election, Kaplan argued against Facebook publicly disclosing the extent of Russian influence operations on the platform.
In 2017, after Facebook had implemented changes to its algorithm to expose users to more content by family and friends and less by publishers who were determined by Facebook to engage in misinformation, Kaplan questioned whether the algorithm disproportionately hurt conservative publishers and successfully advocated for Facebook to change the algorithm again. He pushed against a proposed Facebook project that was intended to make Facebook users of different political views engage with each other in less hostile ways. Kaplan argued that this feature would lead conservatives to accuse Facebook of bias. Kaplan also reportedly advocated on behalf of Breitbart News and the Daily Caller within Facebook. Kaplan has helped to place conservatives in key positions in the leadership of Facebook.
In 2018, Kaplan advocated strongly for the Supreme Court nomination of Brett Kavanaugh. (Business Insider). Kaplan sat behind Kavanaugh during his Senate confirmation hearings. During Donald Trump's presidency, Kaplan was on friendly terms with the administration. At one point, the administration considered nominating him as head of the Office of Management and Budget". Wikipedia
TakeAway: Follow the connections when a multi-billion dollar corporation spreads right wing disinfo from a family operation ignoring its own policies against deception.