New York Times tech reporter Mike Isaac reported Friday on what sounds like a pretty obvious attempt to limiting Trump’s social media sway: “Facebook To Confront Distortions Before Vote.”
But as you'll see, Isaac’s report had a major unacknowledged problem that wrecked its credibility (emphasis added, click “expand”):
Facebook on Thursday moved to clamp down on any confusion about the November election on its service, rolling out a sweeping set of changes to try to limit voter misinformation and prevent interference from President Trump and other politicians.
In an acknowledgment of how powerful its effect on public discourse can be, Facebook said it planned to bar any new political ads on its site in the week before Election Day. The social network said it would also strengthen measures against posts that tried to dissuade people from voting. Postelection, it said, it will quash any candidates’ attempts at claiming false victories by redirecting users to accurate information on the results.
Facebook is bracing for what is set to be a highly contentious presidential election. With two months to go, President Trump and Joseph R. Biden Jr. have ratcheted up their attacks against each other, clashing over issues including the coronavirus pandemic and racial unrest. Mr. Trump, who uses social media as a megaphone, has suggested that even when the results are in, he may not accept them, and he has questioned the legitimacy of mail-in voting.
As has the New York Times in the past.
Of course, the limits on political speech don’t go far enough for the left and Biden supporters.
But Facebook’s moves may already be too little and too late, critics said. Some of the measures, such as the blocking of new political ads a week before Election Day, are temporary. Misinformation and other toxic content also flows freely on Facebook outside of ads, including in private Facebook groups and in posts by users, which the company’s changes do not address.
In other words, The Times and their liberal allies have a case of sour grapes they're not able to control what the public sees, thinks, and cares about.
Amazingly, Isaac locates a liberal activist to criticize Facebook for publishing right-wing media -- even as her company is a hidden fount of Democratic propaganda! Behold (again, emphasis added):
Some of the actions may unintentionally make Facebook even more politicized before the election, critics said. When political ads are blocked on the site, right-wing publishers on Facebook, such as Breitbart and Fox News, could fill the vacuum, said Tara McGowan, the chief executive of the liberal nonprofit group Acronym.
“By banning new political ads in the final critical days of the 2020 election, Facebook has decided to tip the scales of the election to those with the greatest followings on Facebook -- and that includes President Trump and the right-wing media that serves him,” she said in a statement.
The problem is that ACRONYM, as NewsBusters’ Joseph Vazquez explained, is itself accused of being fake news:
Leftist ACRONYM, the organization behind the Iowa Democratic caucus app fiasco, now has its hyper-partisan news network Courier Newsroom under legal scrutiny.
Watchdog group Americans for Public Trust (APT) filed a legal complaint with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) alleging that Courier Newsroom “must register as a political committee because of its ties to a Democratic-aligned group,” according to The Washington Post. The “Democratic-aligned group,” ACRONYM, is run by “Democratic strategist” Tara McGowan. Her Twitter profile bio in May read: “[W]eaponizing truth to get Trump TFO.”
Yet The Times, instead of reporting on the ACRONYM controversy itself, lets the group’s chief executive criticize right-wing media outlets. Irony alert!
Isaac actually cheered on Facebook’s plans to limit private messaging on the platform: “Misinformation across private communication channels is a much more difficult problem to tackle than on public social networks because it is hidden. Limiting message forwarding could slow that spread.”