Monday, 17 October 2016

Leaked E-mail: Facebook Exec Provided Data to Clinton Campaign

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Leaked e-mails published by WikiLeaks show that the mainstream media are not the only media going out of their way to push the election to Hillary Clinton. While the collusion between the Department of Justice and the Clinton campaign/Clinton Foundation and between the mainstream media and the Clinton campaign/Clinton Foundation have done much to help Clinton, social media has played a big part in the game, as well.

In the modern age, data is a more valuable asset than most realize. Those who decide what you see can — to a large extent — manipulate what you think, or at least what you perceive. When a voter watches television news and constantly sees a biased point of view, it impacts the way that voter sees the issues. But since most people are at least vaguely aware that the mainstream media presents a skewed perspective, they turn to their social media timelines to hear from their peers what is really going on. But what they are hearing is not accurate, because Facebook — the biggest of the social media giants — is playing a shell game with the data.

Take an episode from earlier this year when Facebook employees admitted to blocking conservative posts on a regular basis. More recently, though, Facebook blocked links about the WikiLeaks publication of the hacked e-mails from the Democratic National Committee (DNC) that led to the resignation of Debbie Wasserman Schultz from the chairmanship back in the summer. Facebook admitted the fact that posts were being blocked, but blamed it on security measures put in place to block malicious links. After Julian Assange tweeted about the censorship and posted a workaround link, Facebook Chief Security Officer Alex Stamos tweeted, “It’s been fixed.” As if one of the most technologically innovative companies in the world would find that its security settings were “accidentally” blocking posts that would damage the DNC. Interestingly, there were no reports of censorship of liberal posts supporting and defending the DNC/Clinton campaign. Facebook’s protests to the contrary duly noted, it is a fact that the daddy of all social media has made a habit of censoring posts that do not fit the liberal direction of the company.

Keeping all that in mind helps to place the information in recent e-mail leaks in perspective. In one recent e-mail published by WikiLeaks, Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg (shown) is shown to have provided “research on gender and leadership by women” to the Clinton campaign. The e-mail, written by Hillary’s long-time associate (read: accomplice) Cheryl Mills, on February 20, 2015, lays out the plans for a meeting between Team Clinton and Sandberg. The relevant part of the e-mail says:

I have arranged for *Sheryl Sandberg and her researcher to be available on 5 March at 10am to step through the research on gender and leadership by women*. The HRC meeting begins at 11am.

Are you available then for such a meeting?

If so, who else should be included?

best.

Cdm

Sandberg and the Clintons go way back. She got her start during the days when Bill Clinton was president. She served as chief of staff to then-Treasury Secretary Larry Summers before leaving Washington to work at Google and then Facebook. She is one of a sizable number of tech executives to have endorsed Hillary and is listed as a “Hillblazer” for contributing $100,000 or more for Hillary for America, the Hillary Victory Fund, and/or the Hillary Action Fund. So her experience in data-mining and her commitment to Clintonian politics means that providing the Clinton campaign “research on gender and leadership by women” was an easy step for her. Her job at Facebook assuredly made it even easier.

Since Facebook has been shown to use its social media platform to conduct social and psychological experiments on users, it is a small step for the COO of the company to provide data analytics to her chosen candidate. But however small that step may have been, it was out of bounds. Facebook users should not have their data mined and crunched for the purposes of an agenda. Period. But then, they shouldn’t have their political posts censored, either.

Sandberg has denied reports that she would be Hillary’s pick for her old boss’s job as treasury secretary, saying, "I really am staying at Facebook." Even if that is true, her absence from Hillary’s Cabinet (should Clinton win in November) will certainly not diminish her ability to help Clinton in the future. After all, cash may be king, but data is an emperor.

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