As one of the biggest social media giants out there, Facebook (which also owns WhatsApp and Instagram) is pretty powerful – but the platform and its CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, are once again under fire from some users, who have started the hashtag #DeleteFacebook.
This time, it appears that people are angry that Mark has reportedly been having secret meetings in his Californian home with right wing politicians (including one Republican law maker), commentators and journalists. Why is that a big deal? We're all entitled to throw a dinner party in the privacy of our own gaffe, right?
Well, if you cast your mind back to the Facebook Cambridge Analytica scandal of last year – where it transpired that millions of profiles were being mined for personal information, then used for political advertising purposes – it's not such a great look. Especially as the platform has been trying to recover from the damage to its reputation ever since (spotted those adverts on the train lately, saying that the new privacy settings are watertight?).
As reported by Politico, it's believed that these meetings, which started in July, are being used to discuss free speech and *partnerships*. "They are part of Zuckerberg’s broader effort to cultivate friends on the right amid outrage by President Donald Trump and his allies over alleged 'bias' against conservatives at Facebook and other major social media companies," write journalists Natasha Bertrand and Daniel Lippman.
The article also quotes an anonymous cybersecurity researcher and former government official, based in Silicon Valley (AKA Land of The Tech Giants), as saying "Zuckerberg is very concerned about the Justice Department bringing an enforcement action to break up the company... the fear is that [he] is trying to appease the Trump administration by not cracking down on right-wing propaganda.”
Basically, Mark is being accused of selling out and being scared that Facebook will get shut down if he doesn't go along with what President Trump (whose face, I have noticed is the exact same shade as a McDonald's pancake) wants. Also, remember the time Trump came over on a state visit and was greeted by a giant penis, thanks to climate protestors?
Facebook's ad campaign policy is also the source of much criticism at the moment too, because adverts in which false political claims are made are still doing the rounds. Others are also accusing Facebook of racism and silencing those who call it out:
Mark Zuckerberg is corrupt to the core and Facebook systemically silences people of color who call out racism.— saira rao (@sairasameerarao) October 14, 2019
I took down my account a week ago and feel physically and emotionally better. #DeleteFacebook
THIS is why Zuckerberg is meeting with far-right political operatives.— Holly Figueroa O'Reilly (@AynRandPaulRyan) October 14, 2019
He's on a diplomatic mission to make sure Trump doesn't break up his business.
I wouldn't be surprised if the DOJ said, "I'm going to need a favor from you, though..." #deletefacebook https://t.co/wTnNMFXTWS
A senior Trump administration official said “The White House is looking for meaningful steps from Facebook on a number of fronts,” including “competition, free speech for everybody including conservatives, and privacy.”
Mark also chimed in, posting on Facebook (obviously): "There's some press today discussing dinners I've had with conservative politicians, media and thinkers. To be clear, I have dinners with lots of people across the spectrum on lots of different issues all the time. Meeting new people and hearing from a wide range of viewpoints is part of learning. If you haven't tried it, I suggest you do!"
So there you have it.
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