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Perhaps Big Tech’s first foray into election interference was in 2008.
During research for an upcoming book called Traffic, author Ben Smith uncovered the degree to which Facebook schemed to help elect Barack Obama.
The former New York Times columnist described Facebook in 2008 as a “Democratic institution.” He says the “explicit goal” of the “early internet scene” was specific: elect Obama as the President of the United States.
Obama even visited Facebook during his 2008 presidential campaign.
The author elaborated in a conversation with The Verge:
“[I]t was just obvious that this was a progressive young person’s space. And the election of Barack Obama seemed like its culmination. Obama visits Facebook because he doesn’t have to explain that it’s a Democratic company. It’s just obvious that Facebook is aligned with the Obama movement. There’s no question about it. Because it’s the internet, and the internet’s for young, progressive people.”
But by 2016, Smith argues that right-wing internet personalities such as Vice co-founder Gavin McInnes and Huffington Post co-founder Andrew Breitbart gained ground in the internet space. He attributes Trump’s victory against Hilary Clinton to their rise:
“And then it turns out, partly just because everybody else then got on the internet, that the apogee of this digital media era isn’t about his election. It’s Trump’s election, right? In the end.”
“[The Right] adopted the lessons more fully than most people on the left,” Smith added to MSNBC.
Smith doesn’t specifically detail what methods Facebook deployed to help elect Obama in 2008, and likely again in 2012. Though we may assume the method was similar to the one Facebook exploited in 2020 in favor of Joe Biden.
In 2020, Facebook suppressed the credibly-reported Hunter Biden laptop story using “decreased distribution,” the practice of burying a link deep into the newsfeeds of users.
Don’t take our word for it. Take the words of Meta CEO and Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg. He admitted to Joe Rogan last summer that Facebook censored the report, and did so at the behest of the FBI.
Per Zuckerberg, the FBI had been warning Meta of incoming “Russian propaganda” before the New York Post’s report on Hunter. In consequence, Facebook fell for the conspiracy theory that the story was a Kremlin plant.
Of course, the laptop report was not that. Rather, it was one of the more soundly reported pieces of the past decade.
And the suppression of it shifted the election. Over 16 percent of voters say they would’ve voted differently in 2020 had Big Tech not buried the laptop exposé.
So whether Facebook remains a “Democratic institution” or still governs on behalf of the FBI, Big Tech is sure to again play a salient role in the upcoming 2024 presidential election.
As I discussed with Brian Kilmeade Wednesday morning on Fox News Radio, Twitter no longer serves as an agent to the Democrat Pary thanks to Elon Musk. However, Twitter alone cannot undo the competitive and unconstitutional advantages Big Tech has awarded said party.