An internal poll is taken to collect a consensus of what Zuckerberg should address each week.
On March 4 this year, one of the main questions employees of Facebook wanted answered by Mark Zuckerberg was this:
“What responsibility does Facebook have to help prevent President Trump in 2017?”
The world’s largest social network says it won’t avert a Trump presidency but then again, according to the Independent:
“It isn’t clear whether Mr Zuckerberg was asked the question, or what his answer would be if he was. But it shows the increasing power of Facebook not simply as a platform to help facilitate elections but also to decide them as well.”
A Facebook spokesperson said this regarding the matter:
“Voting is a core value of democracy and we believe that supporting civic participation is an important contribution we can make to the community. We as a company are neutral—we have not and will not use our products in a way that attempts to influence how people vote.”
So they are sending out notices on how to register to vote.
However, it is very possible that Facebook could manipulate their own news feed algorithms by subduing or entirely eliminating pro-Trump stories. This would essentially, stifle Trump’s campaign, which has largely lived on free social and mainstream media attention.
Facebook would not have to disclose they were doing this either. In fact, it’s protected by the First Amendment.
According to the Independent, Facebook has also had a hand in manipulating the U.K. elections. Political parties across the pond are spending the same kind of big bucks U.S. politicians are spending on campaigning and electioneering.
According to the Independent report:
“Political parties spend hundreds of thousands of pounds a month on advertising on social networks. And it seems to work: Facebook is becoming one of the deciding powers in elections across the world.”
While Facebook actively experiments in the U.K., its experiments are not unknown to the world.
Back in 2010, in anticipation of the U.S. congressional elections, Facebook conducted what they called a ’61-million-person experiment.’ They want to explore how well ‘political mobilization messages’ worked at actually getting people out to vote.
Facebook collected huge amounts of data, and nobody knew they were taking part in it.
This ‘secret’ experiment found that encouraging people to vote actually got them out to vote.
Not only that, they discovered that people shared this experience on other social networks. So those Facebook users, who were encouraged to register and to vote, actually voted – then they encouraged their family and friends on other sites to register and vote too.
Now, neither Facebook nor Mark Zuckerberg have publicly declared a political position of any persuasion.
Although, in April of this year, Zuckerberg seemed to denounce Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump during his keynote speech at a developer conference. He never referred to Trump by name, but said this:
“I hear fearful voices calling for building walls and distancing people they label as ‘others.’ I hear them calling for… slowing immigration (and) for reducing trade….”
This is largely unprecedented for a CEO of such an influential social platform. Zuckerberg has normally been non-committal as to which candidate he and Facebook’s political action committee supports.
Many people agree that a Trump presidency would be an absolute disaster for our country. If Facebook has a hand in tipping the table, that’s just fine by me.
Feature image a screenshot via YouTube Video.