Congress definitely does not like Twitter and Facebook’s roles in election interference. Expect some shareable moments from hearings.
By Jack Shafer | 30 September 2017
POLITICO — Internet giants Google, Facebook and Twitter — worth more than a trillion dollars combined — have now joined the ever-expanding cast of the Trump Tower scandal. Portrayed in the press as the witless enablers to the Russian meddlers of Campaign 2016, the tech firms have been invited to take their public beatings before the Senate Intelligence Committee. The House Intelligence Committee plans similar humiliations.
On the day Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg gives his congressional testimony, we can expect him to play the naïf, a role that fits the contour of his personality as tightly as his usual T-shirt. Visualize, if you can, Zuckerberg going wide-eyed and then gulping out this opening statement:
Senator Burr, Ranking Member Warner, Members of the Committee. Thank you for inviting me to appear before you today to discuss the 3,000-plus politically divisive ads we sold to Russian customers for $150,000. I’d love to gossip about all the wild noises sounding from the upstairs cathouse at Facebook, but heck, I just play the piano in the parlor.
I don’t know nothing was the tune Zuckerberg sang back in November when first confronted with the argument that Facebook had helped Trump win. “The idea that fake news on Facebook … influenced the election in any way is a pretty crazy idea,” he said. This week, sculling water like an Olympic oarsman, Zuck rowed that comment back. “Calling that crazy was dismissive and I regret it,” he wrote in a post. He now concedes that during the campaign Russian viral disinformation chewed its way though Facebook like conquering termites. Zuck has bowed to both Congress and special counsel Robert S. Mueller III, handing over copies of the ads the Russians bought as well as providing the companion billing information. Do you supposed they used a Kremlin-issued affinity card from Visa? […]