- Background & Overview Mark Elliot Zuckerberg was born on May 14, 1984 in White Plains, New York. After graduating in 2002 from the Phillips Exeter Academy in New Hampshire, he enrolled at Harvard University where he earned a reputation as an expert software developer and created a social networking website called The Facebook. After his sophomore […]
Background & Overview
Mark Elliot Zuckerberg was born on May 14, 1984 in White Plains, New York. After graduating in 2002 from the Phillips Exeter Academy in New Hampshire, he enrolled at Harvard University where he earned a reputation as an expert software developer and created a social networking website called The Facebook. After his sophomore year, Zuckerberg dropped out of college to devote himself full-time to this project, which he renamed simply as Facebook; it eventually became a multi-billion-dollar corporation. Today, Facebook controls as much as 80 percent of social media traffic, meaning that it has the power to erase conversations, shift narratives, and control how people speak to one another. With 190 million users in the United States, the social network monopoly has more control over what people see than all of the media giants combined.
Zuckerberg and Immigration
Zuckerberg has been outspoken on a number of political matters, most notably immigration reform. “We [Americans] have a strange immigration policy for a nation of immigrants,” he wrote in an April 2013 Washington Post op-ed. “And it’s a policy unfit for today’s world.” That same month,Zuckerberg led a dozen fellow tech-industry executives in co-founding the organization FWD.us, to promote the creation of a pathway to citizenship for illegal aliens. He explained that the chief objective of his fledgling group, which drew its name from President Barack Obama‘s 2012 re-election campaign slogan (“Forward”), was to bolster America’s “knowledge economy” by attracting “the most talented and hardest-working people” from around the world.
Toward that end, Zuckerberg has consistently favored increasing the number of H-1B visas that are issued to high-tech foreign workers, even though — as of 2013 — half of all students graduating with “STEM” (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) degrees from American colleges were unable to find employment in those fields. He also supports an expansion of the Optional Practical Training program that allows foreigners with F-1 student visas to take jobs where employers can: (a) pay them much lower wages than they would be required to pay to U.S. workers, and (b) avoid paying Medicare and Social Security taxes on the foreign workers’ behalf.
In September 2013, Zuckerberg visited Capitol Hill to press members of Congress in private meetings to support an amnesty bill advocating citizenship for millions of illegal aliens.
In June 2015, Zuckerberg donated $5 million to TheDream.US, a college scholarship fund created by Washington Post publisher Donald Graham, Democratic National Committee finance chairman Henry Munoz, and “immigrant-rights” activist Gaby Pacheco. Its purpose was to benefit illegal aliens to whom the Obama administration’s 2012 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program had granted legal status, work permits, access to certain social services, and protection from deportation. Zuckerberg continued to contribute heavily to the scholarship fund over the ensuing two years.
At a Facebook developer conference in April 2016, Zuckerberg lamented that “as I look around and I travel around the world, I’m starting to see people and nations turning inward—against this idea of a connected world and community.” Without naming anyone in particular, he criticized those who had spoken out against open borders and in favor of immigration-law enforcement: “I hear fearful voices calling for building walls and distancing people they label as ‘others,’ for blocking free expression, for slowing immigration, reducing trade and, in some cases around the world, even cutting access to the Internet…. It takes courage to choose hope over fear.”
On May 3, 2021, it was reported that Zuckerberg’s FWD.us had hired Kevin Kayes, a former assistant Senate parliamentarian, for the purpose of helping to pass a “reconciliation” amnesty through the U.S. Senate without any Republican votes later that same year.
Zuckerberg and Islam
Zuckerberg has been a vocal opponent of what he views as anti-Islamic speech. In September 2015, for instance, he and Facebook announced that they were joining forces with the German government and a German Internet watchdog called Voluntary Self-Monitoring of Multimedia Service Providers, to monitor what Facebook called the “racist and xenophobic comments” that some visitors were posting to the website. At the time, many Germans objected to the fact that vast numbers of “refugees” were migrating to their country from terrorist strongholds in the Muslim world. Later that month, Zuckerberg assured German Chancellor Angela Merkel, whose government had recently complained that Facebook was doing too little to purge its site of comments criticizing Islam, that he would give the issue all the attention it deserved.
Beginning in November 2015, Facebook helped fund a newly formed “Hate Helps” propaganda initiative, organized by a German NGO called Demokratische Kultur (Center for Democratic Action), which pledged to donate one euro for every negative or “racist” comment posted against Muslims and migrants on the Internet.
In January 2016, Facebook launched what it called an “Initiative For Civil Courage Online,” whose purpose was to censor and remove from its website—particularly from items posted by German users—all “racist” posts contain[ing] “hate speech” and “promot[ing] xenophobia.” “Hate speech has no place in our society—not even on the internet,” explained Facebook’s chief operating officer, Sheryl Sandberg.
Reacting to critics who warned Western countries against accepting migrants from terrorist hotbeds in the Middle East, Zuckerberg in early 2016 stated that he had “no tolerance” for “hate speech against migrants,” whom he and Facebook viewed as a “protected group.”
After two Islamic terrorists massacred fourteen Americans at a Christmas party in San Bernardino, California on December 2, 2015—just three weeks after jihadists had killed 130 innocents in Paris—Zuckerberg worried openly that Western Muslims might in turn be victimized by bigoted people of other faiths. “I want to add my voice in support of Muslims in our community and around the world,” he wrote. “After the Paris attacks and hate this week, I can only imagine the fear Muslims feel that they will be persecuted for the actions of others…. If you’re a Muslim in this [Facebook] community, as the leader of Facebook I want you to know that you are always welcome here and that we will fight to protect your rights and create a peaceful and safe environment for you.”
By contrast, Zuckerberg has exhibited much less concern about anti-Semitic rhetoric by Muslims. Beginning in September 2015, for instance, bulletins posted on Facebook were helping to fuel and encourage a sudden spate of Palestinian violence (stabbings, shootings, and vehicular attacks) against Jews in Israel. When the Israeli Foreign Ministry asked Zuckerberg and his company to remove any posts that incited anti-Jewish violence, they replied that they were not responsible for such content and had no way of monitoring it effectively. In October 2015, the head of the nonprofit legal organization Shurat HaDin (Israel Law Center) filed a lawsuit “on behalf of some 20,000 Israelis” accusing Facebook of “fanning the flames of the current Palestinian intifada” by “its refusals to actively monitor and block the incitement to violence.” And in January 2016, Shurat HaDin launched a campaign called “Zuckerberg Don’t Kill Us,” which sought to purchase billboard ads in and around Zuckerberg’s hometown of Palo Alto, California, to publicize Facebook’s negligence regarding this matter.
Zuckerberg was angered by President Trump’s September 2017 announcement that he planned to phase out Barack Obama‘s aforementioned DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) executive action. In an internal message to Facebook employees, Zuckerberg wrote:
“As many of you have heard, the Trump administration just announced they will be ending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA. This is incredibly disappointing, and goes against everything we should stand for as a country.
“I posted about this publicly, and I want all of you to know that we are taking care of employees who are directly affected by this decision. We also realize that there are thousands of people who aren’t employed directly by Facebook but who need help. We’ll fight for you too, both in the courts and with congress to help give Dreamers a permanent legislative path to citizenship. FWD.us, the immigration advocacy group I founded, has been working on this for a long time.”
Zuckerberg and Facebook’s Misuse of Users’ Private Information
In a 2009 interview regarding the manner in which Facebook handled and protected the private personal data of its users, Zuckerberg told BBC journalist Laura Trevelyan that “the person who puts the content on Facebook always owns the information, and this is why Facebook is such a special service.” Those assurances, however, were inconsistent with what Zuckerberg had written during an instant-messenger conversation with a friend around the time he was first getting Facebook off the ground. In that conversation, Zuckerberg had characterized the users of his social network as “dumb f*s” for trusting him with their data. In the 2012 settlement of a 2011 case in which the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) charged Facebook because of its deceptive privacy claims, the company committed to giving its users “clear and prominent notice,” and to obtaining their consent, before sharing their information beyond what their privacy settings allowed.
In March 2018, a pair of bombshell news reports in The New York Times and The Guardian revealed that in 2014, contractors and employees of Cambridge Analytica, a London-based data-mining and analytics firm that worked with Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential election team and the successful 2016 Brexit campaign in England, had acquired the private Facebook data of tens of millions of the social networking site’s users. Wired.com explains how this happened:
“[In 2014], a slug of Facebook data on 50 million Americans was sucked down by a UK academic named Aleksandr Kogan, and wrongly sold to Cambridge Analytica…. Kogan actually got his Facebook data by just walking in Facebook’s front door and asking for it. Like all technology platforms, Facebook encourages outside software developers to build applications to run inside it, just like Google does with its Android operating system and Apple does with iOS. And so in November 2013 Kogan, a psychology professor at the University of Cambridge, created an application developer account on Facebook and explained why he wanted access to Facebook’s data for a research project. He started work soon thereafter.
“Kogan had created the most anodyne of tools for electoral manipulation: an app based on personality quizzes. Users signed up and answered a series of questions. Then the app would take those answers, mush them together with that person’s Facebook likes and declared interests, and spit out a profile that was supposed to know the test-taker better than he knew himself. About 270,000 Americans participated. However what they didn’t know was that by agreeing to take the quiz and giving Facebook access to their data, they also granted access to many of their Facebook friends’ likes and interests as well.… Kogan quickly ended up with data on roughly 50 million people.
“About five months after Kogan began his research, Facebook announced that it was tightening its app review policies.… By then Kogan had already mined the data and sold it to Cambridge Analytica, violating his agreement with Facebook.”
It was eventually learned that the data of up to 87 million people — mostly in the United States — had been improperly shared with Cambridge Analytica. According to The Guardian, the information contained in the Facebook profiles had been used “to build a powerful software program” to “influence choices at the ballot box” by “target[ing] [people] with personalized political advertisements.” Facebook confirmed in March 2018 that it had been aware of the massive data breach by late 2015 but had elected not to alert its users, and that it took only limited measures thereafter to recover and secure the information that had been compromised.
For additional details of this Facebook data breach, see The Guardian story in Footnote #2, below.
Zuckerberg and China
- In late 2014, Zuckerberg met with the former deputy head of the Propaganda Department of the Communist Party of China, Lu Wei, whom President Xi Jinping had recently appointed to head the “Central Leading Group for Internet Security and Information.” Lu’s duty in that role was to restrict access to certain ideas and information, in accordance with a 2013 law in which the Chinese government had declared it a crime to spread rumors online – an offense punishable by up to three years in prison for the original poster if an objectionable (i.e., “untrue”) post received more than 500 reposts.
As author Peter Schweizer notes in his 2022 book Red Handed: How American Elites Get Rich Helping China, “[W]hen Lu visited Facebook’s California headquarters in Menlo Park, Zuckerberg treated him like a VIP. The Facebook head gave him a tour of the new Frank Gehry-designed campus, which boasted the ‘largest open floor plan in the world.’ Later, the two retreated to Zuckerberg’s private office.” There, on Zuckerberg’s desk, Lu saw a book that was very familiar to him — The Governance of China, a 515-page volume containing the speeches and sayings of President Xi. Zuckerberg informed his guest that he had purchased the book as a tool by which he could educate his staff: “I want to make them understand socialism with Chinese characteristics.”
- In 2015, Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla, who was seven months pregnant at the time, were among some 200 guests from the realms of government and business who attended an official State Dinner in the East Room of the Obama White House in honor of China’s President Xi. When Zuckerberg had an opportunity to meet Xi face-to-face, he asked if the communist dictator would do him the honor of selecting a Chinese name for Zuckerberg’s not-yet-born child. Xi, surprised by the request, declined to do so, explaining that it was “too great a responsibility.”
- In 2016, Facebook and Google made plans to collaborate on the construction of the Pacific Light Cable Network, an undersea cable that would originate in San Francisco and cross the Pacific Ocean, so as to link the U.S. with Hong Kong, China, and other places in Asia – for the purpose of providing better Internet and data services to Facebook and Google customers in the Far East. But to provide the link to Hong Kong, the two U.S. Big Tech giants elected to partner with a Chinese company called Dr. Peng Telecom & Media Group, which: (a) was financially backed by the Chinese government’s China Securities Finance Corporation, (b) worked closely with Chinese military defense contractors, and (c) worked closely with Huawei, a Chinese multinational technology corporation. The U.S. Justice Department feared that the Facebook-Google cable would present “unprecedented opportunities for Chinese government espionage,” and the U.S. Federal Communications Commission blocked the project in 2020.
More on Zuckerberg
In 2013, Zuckerberg, asserting that “connectivity is a human right,” helped launch Internet.org, a partnership through which Facebook and six other tech corporations aimed to bring free Internet access to poor people in underdeveloped countries. Journalist Daniel Greenfield observed that this was “essentially … a subsidy for Facebook disguised as a charity program.”
In November 2015, Zuckerberg and a number of fellow billionaires and entrepreneurs (e.g., Bill Gates, Richard Branson, Reid Hoffman, and Jeff Bezos) pledged to use their wealth to spark a “new economic revolution” founded upon “renewable” and “clean” energy. According to Zuckerberg, progress towards sustainable energy systems was proceeding at “too slow” a pace.
On December 5, 2015, Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan, publicly pledged to use their newly launched “Chan Zuckerberg Initiative” to give away, over the remainder of their lives, 99% of their Facebook shares—which at the time were valued at about $45 billion—to help “advanc[e] human potential and promote equality for all children in the next generation.” The SEC filing for this endeavor took pains to reassure investors that Zuckerberg planned “to sell or gift no more than $1 billion of Facebook stock each year for the next three years” and would retain “his majority position in our stock for the foreseeable future.” Moreover, the initiative was structured not as a nonprofit but as a Limited Liability Corporation, thereby allowing it to earn and invest as much money as it wished.
In February 2016 Zuckerberg posted, on a Facebook announcement page, a private memo to his company’s employees, noting, with disapproval, that some of them had been scratching out the increasingly popular “Black Lives Matter” meme and replacing it with “All Lives Matter” on the company’s famous signature wall. Wrote Zuckerberg:
“There are specific issues affecting the black community in the United states, coming from a history of oppression and racism. ‘Black lives matter’ doesn’t mean other lives don’t—it’s simply asking that the black community also achieves the justice they deserve. We’ve never had rules around what people can write on our walls—we expect everybody to treat each other with respect. Regardless of the content or location, crossing out something means silencing speech … This has been a deeply hurtful and tiresome experience for the black community and really the entire Facebook community, and we are now investigating the current incidents. I hope and encourage people to participate in the Black@ town hall on [March 4th] to educate themselves about what the Black Lives Matter movement is about.”
In May 2016, the website Gizmodo reported that according to a number of former Facebook employees, workers at the company “routinely suppressed news stories of interest to conservative readers from the social network’s influential ‘trending’ news section.”
According to hacked emails published in October 2016 by WikiLeaks, Facebook executive Sheryl Sandberg emailed John Podesta, Hillary Clinton‘s campaign chairman, in August 2015 to see if Podesta would be willing to meet with Zuckerberg, to teach the latter about various political issues and the art of influencing public opinion. Wrote Sandberg:
“…[W]ondering if you would be willing to spend some time with Mark Zuckerberg. Mark is meeting with people to learn more about next steps for his philanthropy and social action and it’s hard to imagine someone better placed or more experienced than you to help him. As you may know, he’s young and hungry to learn — always in learning mode — and is early in his career when it comes to his philanthropic efforts. He’s begun to think about whether/how he might want to shape advocacy efforts to support his philanthropic priorities and is particularly interested in meeting people who could help him understand how to move the needle on the specific public policy issues he cares most about. He wants to meet folks who can inform his understanding about effective political operations to advance public policy goals on social oriented objectives (like immigration, education or basic scientific research).”
“Happy to do,” Podesta wrote in response.
On May 25, 2017, Zuckerberg was the commencement speaker at Harvard University’s graduation ceremony. There, he exhorted the graduates to seek out a “new social contract” that would guarantee a universal basic income for everyone. Among his remarks were the following:
- “How about stopping climate change before we destroy the planet and getting millions of people involved manufacturing and installing solar panels?”
- “[T]oday, we have a level of wealth inequality that hurts everyone. When you don’t have the freedom to take your idea and turn it into a historic enterprise, we all lose…. There is something wrong with our system when I can leave here and make billions of dollars in 10 years while millions of students can’t afford to pay off their loans, let alone start a business…. I know lots of people who haven’t pursued dreams because they didn’t have a cushion to fall back on if they failed.”
- “Every generation expands its definition of equality. Previous generations fought for the vote and civil rights. They had the New Deal and Great Society. Now it’s our time to define a new social contract for our generation…. We should explore ideas like universal basic income to give everyone a cushion to try new things…. And yes, giving everyone the freedom to pursue purpose isn’t free. People like me should pay for it. Many of you will do well and you should too.”
In March 2018, it was reported that in 2012, Facebook had voluntarily provided the presidential re-election campaign of Barack Obama with data on millions of its users. According to the Daily Signal, that data was “a more sophisticated version of the type of data that has long been provided by professional direct mail marketers” who help political campaigns to more effectively target prospective sources of “votes and money.” On March 18, 2018, Carol Davidsen, Obama For America’s former media director, tweeted that Facebook employees had come to the Obama campaign office six years earlier and “were very candid that they allowed us to do things they wouldn’t have allowed someone else to do because they were on our side.” Heritage Foundation senior legal fellow Hans von Spakovsky puts the foregoing information in perspective:
“If true, such action by Facebook may constitute a major violation of federal campaign finance law as an illegal corporate campaign contribution…. A federal law bans corporations from making ‘direct or indirect’ contributions to federal candidates. That ban extends beyond cash contributions to ‘any services, or anything of value.’ In other words, corporations cannot provide federal candidates with free services of any kind…. Corporations can certainly offer their services, including office space, to federal campaigns. But the campaigns are required to pay the fair market value for such services or rental properties.”
In the fall of 2016, Zuckerberg pressured one of Facebook’s top executives, Oculus founder Palmer Luckey, to publicly apologize for having supported Donald Trump during that presidential election season, and to issue a letter just before Election Day stating that he had recently switched his allegiance to libertarian candidate Gary Johnson. In a September 2016 email to Luckey’s attorney, Facebook Deputy General Counsel Paul Grewal wrote: “I need to tell you that Mark [Zuckerberg] himself drafted this [an attached apology for which Luckey was instructed to claim authorship] and details are critical.” The apology subsequently went through numerous drafts before Luckey and Facebook ultimately agreed on the precise wording.
On November 15, 2018 — just hours after Facebook had cut its ties with Definers Public Affairs, a political consulting firm that had accused George Soros of funding a group of anti-Facebook activists — Zuckerberg said: “I have tremendous respect for George Soros.”
In an October 2019 interview, Zuckerberg, whose net worth at that time was $69 billion, was asked to comment on Senator Bernie Sanders’s recent assertion that “I don’t think that billionaires should exist.” Zuckerberg replied: “I understand where he’s coming from. I don’t know that I have an exact threshold on what amount of money someone should have but on some level no one deserves to have that much money.”
Zuckerberg once spent $30 million to purchase four homes situated on properties surrounding his own, in order to get “a little more privacy” for himself. And in 2016, he hired contractors to build a six-foot-high physical wall around his $100 million, 700-acre Hawaii property—a stark contrast to his earlier condemnation of “fearful voices calling for building walls and distancing people they label as ‘others’” and refusing “to choose hope over fear.”
How Zuckerberg Funded Joe Biden’s 2020 Presidential Victory
Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan, helped to buy the U.S. presidency for Joe Biden in 2020 by strategically donating $419.5 million to a pair of left-wing activist groups that, in turn, awarded that money, in the form of huge financial grants, to election administrators in a multitude of cities and counties nationwide. According to a December 2020 report published by the Thomas More Society’s Amistad Project, during the 2020 election cycle Zuckerberg and Chan gave $69.5 million to the Center for Election Innovation and Research (CEIR), whose founder was formerly a staff attorney and director with People For the American Way, and $350 million to the “Safe Elections” Project of the Center for Tech and Civic Life (CTCL), an organization whose three founders were former members of the pro-Democrat New Organizing Institute. Those funds were then distributed by CEIR and CTCL, in the form of “COVID-19 response” grants of varying amounts, to some 2,500 municipalities in 49 states and Washington, D.C. — ostensibly to help create conditions where Americans could vote as safely as possible in the midst of the deadly coronavirus pandemic.
The conduit Zuckerberg used to funnel his $419.5 million to CEIR and CTCL was yet another tax-exempt nonprofit, the California-based Silicon Valley Community Foundation, which supports get-out-the-vote campaigns for the Democratic Party.
Neither CEIR nor CTCL had ever before experienced anything even remotely resembling this type of cash influx. For example, over the course of the entire prior history of CTCL, which was a small organization founded in 2012, its yearly revenues from contributions and grants had never once exceeded $2.84 million. That high-water mark represented a mere eight-tenths-of-one-percent of the sum donated by Zuckerberg alone in 2020.
Despite their self-professed “non-partisanship,” CEIR and CTCL in 2020 allocated their Zuckerberg-provided funds in a highly partisan manner. The goal of Zuckerberg and these two organizations was to pump massive sums of money into voter-mobilization initiatives in specific cities and counties that had traditionally voted for Democrats, so as to maximize the likelihood that large numbers of Democrat voters would cast ballots in the 2020 elections. Meanwhile, places that traditionally had voted Republican received far less money – or in some cases no money at all. In short, the CEIR and CTCL campaigns were highly targeted efforts to boost voter turnout in Democrat districts to a degree that would be substantial enough to overcome whatever level of voter turnout Republican districts might experience.
The CEIR/CTCL grants were not awarded as gifts that the recipients could use in whatever way they saw fit. Rather, these organizations extended formal invitations encouraging the targeted communities to apply for the Zuckerberg funds, which in turn would be given to them with many strings attached – i.e., strict conditions on how the recipient jurisdictions could use the money and run their elections. “It was a pay-to-play scheme, where in exchange for taking this money, the CTCL gets to tell them how to run the election,” said Thomas More Society attorney Erick Kaardal.
Specifically, CTCL, using COVID-19 fears as an excuse, required that its grant money be used to: (a) suspend existing election laws in order to promote universal mail-in voting, a practice singled out by the bi-partisan Carter-Baker Commission as particularly vulnerable to fraud and corruption; (b) eliminate or weaken signature-matching requirements and ballot-receipt deadlines for mail-in votes; (c) expand opportunities for “ballot curing” (i.e., “fixing” wrongly cast ballots to remove their disqualification); (d) cover the very considerable expenses associated with massive bulk mailings and “community outreach” programs administered by private activists; (e) enable the proliferation of unmonitored ballot drop boxes which would make it impossible to ensure a transparent and secure chain-of-custody trail for all ballots; (f) create unprecedented opportunities for illegal ballot harvesting; and (h) greatly increase funding for the hiring of temporary poll workers, which, as The Federalist points out, “supported the infiltration of election offices by paid Democratic Party activists, coordinated through a complex web of left-leaning non-profit organizations, social media platforms, and social media election influencers.” In other words, the Zuckerberg/CTCL funds were used to conduct and support multiple practices that are well-known to make election fraud possible.
CTCL and Zuckerberg’s “coordinated assault on in-person voting generally favored Democrat Party voters who preferred to vote in advance, while placing Republicans, who preferred to vote in person, at a disadvantage,” said Amistad Project director Phill Kline in the aforementioned Amistad Project report. Combined with the other actions cited in the preceding paragraph, that assault helped to create “a two-tier election system favoring one demographic while disadvantaging another demographic,” wrote Kline, explaining that CTCL generally viewed state election-integrity laws as nothing more than “obstacles and nuisances to be ignored or circumvented.”
Consider also some additional ways in which CTCL grants were used in various states:
- CTCL allowed elections departments in multiple states to use grant money to purchase vehicles to transport “voter navigators” to the places where their services were needed – services like: (a) registering voters; (b) helping people apply for absentee ballots; (c) helping voters, potentially at their front doors, to fill out their ballots; (d) witnessing absentee ballot signatures; and (e) “curing” absentee ballots that had been filled out incorrectly.
- CTCL grants in Georgia were used to: (a) expand curbside voting and to conduct “voter outreach” campaigns designed to “promote absentee voting and encourage higher percentages of our electors to vote absentee”; (b) dispatch CTCL agents to train poll workers; and (c) fund “Happy Faces,” a temporary staffing agency affiliated with Stacey Abrams, to count the votes on election night in Fulton County.
- CTCL awarded eleven massive grants in Michigan, ten of which went to cities that Hillary Clinton had won in the 2016 presidential election. The total number of dollars given to those Democrat strongholds was 14.7 times greater than the number of dollars given to the Republican jurisdiction.
- CTCL awarded seven large grants in Pennsylvania. Fully 94.7% of the dollars which constituted those grants went to places that Hillary Clinton had won in 2016, while a mere 5.3% went to jurisdictions that had supported Trump in ’16.
- In Pennsylvania, CTCL grants directed to Philadelphia were used to pay election judges and various other election officials, and to increase the number of polling locations, mobile ballot-pickup units, and ballot drop boxes in the city.
- CTCL grants helped Delaware County, Pennsylvania — a heavily Democratic area — put one drop box in place for every 4,000 voters and every four square miles of land. By contrast, in the 59 Pennsylvania counties that Trump had won in the 2016 election, there was now one drop box for every 72,000 voters and every 1,100 square miles of land. “Government encouraging a targeted demographic to turn out the vote is the opposite side of the same coin as government targeting a demographic to suppress the vote,” Phill Kline wrote in the Amistad Project report. “This two-tiered election system allowed voters in Democrat strongholds to stroll down the street to vote while voters in Republican strongholds had to go on the equivalent of a ‘Where’s Waldo’ hunt. These irregularities existed wherever Zuckerberg’s money was granted to local election officials.”
- CTCL gave $443,000 to Lansing, Michigan, whose elections department used that money to purchase additional absentee ballot drop boxes and to mail absentee ballot applications to every registered voter.
- Election officials in Lorain County, Ohio used CTCL funds to pay an $8,100 Verizon phone bill and to purchase a $24,000 van that was used to transport equipment between a warehouse and the elections department.
- The Boone County, Missouri elections department used $3,000 of CTCL’s COVID grant to produce a rap video and buy radio spots that, according to County Clerk Brianna Lennon, would “appeal to younger, first-time voters” – a demographic strongly inclined to support Democrat candidates.
- In Wisconsin, CTCL grants: (a) paid for individuals to count and tabulate ballots, and (b) paid for the services of “vote navigators” to “assist voters, potentially at their front doors, to answer questions, assist in ballot curing … and witness absentee ballot signatures.”
- In May 2020, CTCL gave $100,000 to Racine, Wisconsin and asked its mayor to recruit four other cities — Green Bay, Kenosha, Madison, and Milwaukee — to develop a joint grant request for CTCL funds as well. On June 15, that bloc of cities together submitted a “Wisconsin Safe Election Plan” to CTCL and, in turn, got $6.3 million from the nonprofit. CTCL, SAID Phill Kline, “retained the right, in the grant document, to, in its sole discretion, order all funds returned if the grantee cities did not conduct the election consistent with CTCL dictates. Effectively, CTCL managed the election in these five cities.”
All told, CTCL in 2020 made 26 separate grants of $1 million or more to cities and counties in Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Virginia. Twenty-five of those grants, totaling a cumulative $85.5 million, went to places that Mr. Biden ultimately won in the 2020 presidential election. (The vast majority of CTCL’s money also went to places that had voted overwhelmingly for Hillary Clinton in 2016.) By contrast, the lone Trump-supporting grant recipient of $1 million or more in 2020 – Brown County, Wisconsin — was given just $1.1 million.
Below are some additional examples of the imbalance in CTCL’s grants to Democrat areas vs. Republican areas:
- In Texas, grants to counties that Biden won in 2020 received CTCL grants that amounted to $3.22 per capita, whereas counties that Trump won received just 55 cents per capita..
- CTCL gave $2.8 million to the heavily Democratic Webb County, Texas, thereby helping total registrations in the county increase by 10,000 over the corresponding figure from 2016 – and helping Biden beat Trump by a two-to-one margin.
- CTCL gave $1.4 million to Fairfax County, Virginia, helping to increase Democrat voter turnout there by 65,458 above the 2016 figure. By contrast, Republican turnout in Fairfax County increased by only 10,564 over 2016.
- In Arizona, a state with 15 counties, fully 83.6% of all known CTCL grants went to just 3 counties that Biden won in 2020.
- In Pennsylvania, grants to counties that Biden won in 2020 received $3.11 per capita, vs. just 57 cents per capita to counties that Trump won. More specifically, CTCL grants to rural, Republican-leaning Pennsylvania counties like Mercer and Luzerne amounted to an average of about 75 cents per registered voter, while Democrat-majority areas like Delaware and Chester Counties received $5.17 and $6.73 per registered voter, respectively.
- In Georgia, CTCL gave approximately $29 million in grants to counties that Biden won, at a rate of $7.13 per registered voter. By contrast, the center awarded just $2.3 million in grants—averaging $1.91 per registered voter—to counties won by Trump.
- The Wisconsin legislature gave the heavily Democratic city of Green Bay approximately $7 per voter to manage its 2020 elections, vs. just $4 per voter in the state’s Republican rural counties. Then, after CTCL got through allocating its funds in Wisconsin, the Green Bay figure ballooned to an astronomical $47 per voter, while the figure for most of the state’s rural areas remained at just $4 per voter.
Similar funding disparities – favoring Democrat areas over Republican areas — occurred in or near numerous Democrat strongholds such as Detroit, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Flint, Dallas, and Houston.
The Zuckerberg grants dwarfed the amount of election-related money normally spent by the various cities that were recipients of those grants. As J. Christian Adams reports in PJ Media, for instance:
“Philadelphia’s election office budget was normally $9.8 million. The CLTC gave Philadelphia $10 million, more than doubling the city budget.”
“Those millions were used to hire local activists as city employees to drive around and collect ballots. The millions bought new printers and scanners to accommodate mail ballots. Philadelphia established brand new satellite election offices across the most Biden-friendly neighborhoods in the entire Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The millions bought scores of convenient drop boxes across the same neighborhoods where mail ballots could be conveniently dropped. Even though laws limited third parties from collecting and dropping off multiple ballots, people were photographed dropping off bundles of ballots at the boxes.
“If voters couldn’t muster the initiative to travel a few blocks to the drop-off boxes or new satellite offices, the city went to them to collect their ballot.
“CLTC dollars flowed through Philadelphia election officials to the pricey public relations firm Aloysius Butler & Clark. They designed billboards, posters, bus advertisements, and print ads. Radio advertisements and street marketing all added to the blitz. […]
“The hundreds of millions poured into urban election offices by the CTLC and affiliated charities also explains how Trump dramatically increased his share of the black and Hispanic vote and still lost. […] Even if Trump increased his share of the black and Hispanic vote, the opening of the urban turnout floodgates through private donations to government election offices easily swamped Trump statewide in Pennsylvania, Georgia, and Michigan.
“It doesn’t matter if Trump has 15 percent of the black vote in Detroit if turnout there soared by 92,891 Detroit votes, which it did. It doesn’t matter if Trump has even 20 percent of the black vote in Atlanta if turnout in DeKalb soared by 54,550 votes, which it did.
“This also explains how the GOP was so successful everywhere… except at the top of the ticket. A flood of blue votes gushing out of deep blue urban areas has a statewide effect only for statewide candidates. It doesn’t affect legislative races outside of the cities.”
“The amount of additional money these groups [CTCL and CEIR] poured into elections offices in Democrat-voting areas was truly staggering,” said the New York Post. “To put it in perspective, federal and state matching funds for COVID-19-related election expenses in 2020 totaled $479.5 million. The CTCL and CEIR money totaled $419.5 million. These two private nonprofits were responsible for an 85 percent increase in total additional election funding — and that largesse was concentrated in a relatively small number of heavily Democratic municipalities.”
“The practical effect of these massive, privately manipulated election-office funding disparities was to create a ‘shadow’ election system with a built-in structural bias that systematically favored Democratic voters over Republican voters,” said The Federalist. “The massive influx of funds essentially created a high-powered, concierge-like get-out-the-vote effort for Biden that took place inside the election system, rather than attempting to influence it from the outside.”
In addition to issuing the aforementioned grants, CTCL collaborated with Facebook to produce a guide and webinar that taught election officials how to engage and assist voters more effectively. This voter-assistance campaign targeted low-income and nonwhite minorities who typically lean Democrat but shun election participation.
By no means was Facebook the only ally with which CTCL collaborated. As Real Clear Investigations explains: “A CTCL partner, the Center for Civic Design, helped design absentee ballot forms and instructions, crafted voter registration letters for felons, and tested automatic voter registration systems in several states, working alongside progressive activist groups in Michigan and directly with elections offices in Georgia and Utah. Still other groups with a progressive leaning, including the Main Street Alliance, The Elections Group and the National Vote at Home Institute, provided support for some elections offices.” In other words, leftwing activists were infused directly into the elections offices of various cities and towns.
The effects that CEIR/CTCL’s funding patterns had on the composition of the electorates in their targeted recipient areas were likewise highly noteworthy. In Georgia, for instance, counties that received money from Zuckerberg and CEIR/CTCL in 2020 were, on average, 2.3 points more Democratic than they had been in 2016. Meanwhile, the political mix of non-funded counties was essentially the same as it had been four years earlier.
Such facts are particularly significant in light of the fact that Biden’s margin of victory in the 2020 presidential race was razor-thin. The final tally in the Electoral College (EC) was 306 EC votes for Biden, to 232 EC votes for Trump, with 270 being the number required to win the presidency. The popular vote margins by which Biden allegedly won the three most hotly contested battleground states were as follows: Arizona: 10,457 (EC votes: 11); Georgia: 11,779 (EC votes: 16); Wisconsin: 20,682 (EC votes: 10). Collectively, Trump lost these 3 states by a grand total of just 42,918 votes. If he would have won these 3 states, he would have gained their 37 combined EC votes, bringing his total up to 269. Biden, conversely, would have lost 37 EC votes, bringing his total down to 269 as well. In the event of a 269-269 tie, the election would have been decided by the House of Representatives. Even though the Democrats held a majority in terms of total House members, the Republicans held a majority of seats in 26 separate states while the Democrats held a majority of seats in 23 separate states, and 1 state had an equal number of Democrats and Republicans. Each state delegation would have been permitted to cast 1 vote for president, meaning that Trump would have won the election in this scenario. In short, the presidential election of 2020 was decided by a mere 42,918 out of the 159 million votes that were cast overall, or 0.027 percent of all the votes that were cast.
The money donated by CTCL and CEIR bore no resemblance to traditional campaign finance or lobbying. Rather, it enabled left-wing activists to infiltrate city and county election offices and, upon gaining a foothold therein, use those offices as vehicles for particular administrative practices, voting methods, and outreach campaigns targeting cities and counties with high concentrations of Democratic voters. As Tarren Bragdon, CEO of the Foundation for Government Accountability, told Fox News in June 2021: “The Zuckerberg funding is an unprecedented example of using government employees and government resources to put your finger on the scale, to affect the election outcome. It would be like giving private money to police departments to have officers do more stop and frisk in certain neighborhoods compared to other neighborhoods. It would be like giving money to the tax department to do increased audits in certain zip codes or neighborhoods versus other neighborhoods.”
Bragdon also noted that although the stated justification for the CEIR/CTCL grants was voter and election-official safety during the COVID-19 pandemic, some counties spent little or no money at all on things like personal protective equipment [PPE] that could have made in-person voting safer for everyone. Fulton, Cobb and Dekalb Counties, for instance, spent on average only 1.3 percent of the Zuckerberg-funded Georgia grants on PPE, while most of the money was used to promote mail-in voting. “This had nothing to do with COVID and had everything to do with using government resources and government employees to play politics,” said Bragdon.
In a similar vein, on June 21, 2021, a group of 14 congressional Republicans sent a letter to CTCL’s executive director that said: “Designated as ‘COVID-19 response grants,’ the hundreds of millions in CTCL grant money were marketed as funds available to election officials to ‘safely serve every voter’ during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the current data available shows that less than one percent of funds were spent on personal protective equipment. If true, the American public deserves to know how the other 99 percent of these grants were spent.”
“This private funding has never been done before,” said Hayden Dublois, a researcher at the Foundation of Government Accountability. “We hear about dark money and corporations buying ads, but never have we seen hundreds of millions of private dollars going into the conducting of elections. And states didn’t have any laws on the books to stop it.”
In the December 2020 Amistad Project report, Phill Kline wrote that in 2020 there was “an unprecedented and coordinated public-private partnership to improperly influence” the election in swing states, a partnership that “effectively placed government’s thumb on the scale to help these private interests achieve their objectives and to benefit [Mr. Biden].” And Zuckerberg and Chan were central players on the “private” side of that equation.
How Zuckerberg’s Money Affected Both the Presidential and Senate-Runoff Races in Georgia in 2020
Notably, Zuckerberg continued to use his enormous wealth to influence political elections in a major way even after the 2020 presidential race. Indeed, CTCL gave $14.5 million of Zuckerberg’s money to selected Georgia counties for the monumentally important January 2021 runoff elections where Democrats Raphael Warnock and Jon Osoff won a pair of U.S. Senate seats that effectively gave their party a majority in the Upper Chamber of Congress. In the runup to those two races, more than 60 percent of CTCL’s grants in Georgia were earmarked for Fulton and Dekalb counties, both of which are heavily Democratic.
Illegal Exploitation of Drop Boxes by Ballot Harvesters in Milwaukee County, Wisconsin
On March 18, 2022, the election-integrity organization True The Vote (TTV) released a blockbuster report containing evidence of massive, illegal exploitation of ballot drop-boxes by ballot harvesters in Milwaukee County, Wisconsin. Below are some key excerpts from the report:
- In Wisconsin [during the November 2020 election cycle], CTCL distributed over $10.3 million in grants. About 86% of the funding went to five cities, Milwaukee, Madison, Green Bay, Kenosha, and Racine, which they used to provide drop boxes for receiving absentee ballots and other voter assistance.
- In 2021, in response to whistleblower reports, TTV began purchasing and analyzing publicly available drop box surveillance video and commercially available geospatial (mobile device) data generated at CTCL grant-funded drop box locations during the time periods in which drop boxes were in use for the 2020 General Election.
- TTV also purchased commercially available, anonymized, geospatial mobile device information. Analysis of this cell phone data can pinpoint the specific location of a unique device at a specific time without disclosing private information about the device owner’s identity.
- TTV purchased 25 terabytes of cell phone signal data emitted by devices in the Milwaukee County area during the two-week period prior to the 2020 election, October 20 – November 3. The data was purchased from standard commercial providers and includes signals from over 27,000 cell phone apps, which data aggregators purchase and resell to public and private buyers for official and commercial uses.
- Wisconsin law requires that absentee ballot envelopes be “mailed by the elector, or delivered in person, to the municipal clerk issuing the ballot or ballots.” It is illegal for an absentee ballot to be cast by anyone other than the elector, with a witness certifying the vote.
- In municipalities in the Milwaukee County area, 53,291 cell phones were pinpointed at ballot drop boxes three or more times during the 10/20 – 11/3 window. Within that two-week window, 107 unique devices made (1) 20 or more visits to drop boxes (averaging 26 visits each, some as many as 10-15 per day) and (2) multiple visits to non-governmental organizations (“NGOs”) involved in get-out-the-vote efforts (averaging 5 NGO visits each). Those 107 “20X” devices together visited drop boxes a total of 2,824 times during the window, with a majority of visits occurring after 8:00 pm, past posted business hours at the government or other locations where the drop boxes were located.
Illegal Exploitation of Drop Boxes by Ballot Harvesters in the Atlanta Metro Area
On November 30, 2021, the election-integrity organization True The Vote (TTV) sent a letter to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger containing evidence of massive, illegal exploitation of ballot drop-boxes by ballot harvesters in the Atlanta metropolitan area, a key focus of CTCL funding in 2020. Below are some key excerpts from the letter:
- Following a detailed account of coordinated efforts to collect and deposit ballots in drop boxes across metro Atlanta, True the Vote obtained publicly available surveillance video as well as commercially available cell phone data which revealed concerning patterns of behavior consistent with the reports made to our organization.
- In addition to ordering surveillance video, True the Vote also purchased commercially available, anonymized, geospatial mobile device information. This cell phone data establishes what devices were at a particular location at a particular time but does not disclose any private information about a person’s identity.
- Acting upon information provided to us, True the Vote’s contracted team of researchers and investigators spoke with several individuals regarding personal knowledge, methods, and organizations involved in ballot trafficking in Georgia. One such individual, hereinafter referred to as John Doe, admitted to personally participating and provided specific information about the ballot trafficking process. This information was provided under agreement of anonymity.
- John Doe described a network of non-governmental organizations (“NGO”s) that worked together to facilitate a ballot trafficking scheme in Georgia. John Doe claimed to have been one of many individuals paid to collect and deliver absentee ballots during the early voting periods of the November 2020 General Election and the January 2021 Runoff Election.
- John Doe’s assignment included collecting ballots, both from voters in targeted neighborhoods and from NGOs that had their own ballot collection processes, delivering those ballots to other NGOs, picking up designated ballot bundles from the same group of NGOs, and depositing ballots into drop boxes spanning six counties in the metro Atlanta area. Each drop box delivery would typically include between 5 to 20 ballots. John Doe described a payment validation process which involved taking cell phone pictures of the drop box where ballots were deposited. Participants were compensated, typically at a rate of $10 per ballot. John Doe stated he had been paid directly by one of these NGOs.
- [I]n our initial review of the available 3 million minutes of surveillance video, we found compelling evidence to support the reports of absentee ballot trafficking conducted during the November 3, 2020, General Election and January 5, 2021, Runoff Election periods.
- After reviewing this data, True the Vote was able to confirm certain patterns of activity around absentee ballot drop boxes, as initially reported by John Doe. During the Runoff Election period, in six counties in and around Atlanta, 552,987 cell phones came within a narrowly defined distance of ballot drop boxes during our study period. However, 242 unique devices made repeat trips to drop boxes averaging 23 trips each. These same 242 devices also went repeatedly, averaging eight trips each, to specific NGOs. These 242 individual devices went to drop boxes a total of 5,668 times with approximately 40% of the visits occurring between the unusual hours of 12:00 a.m. and 5:00 a.m.
- The video, though often grainy and sometimes distant, revealed numerous unusual behaviors. Individuals were observed attempting to deposit multiple ballots into the drop box. Sometimes, the person was attempting to deposit so many ballots that they were unable to fit them all in and the video shows ballots falling to the ground.
- Cars were observed with out-of-state license plates, including rental cars identifiable because of the sticker seal rental car companies affix to the driver’s side door. This in itself is not necessarily problematic; however it is notable because these out of state and rental cars were driven by individuals who were also in our targeted study group of 242 devices.
- Consistent with John Doe’s report regarding the proof necessary to receive payment, individuals were observed taking cell phone photos, not of themselves, but of their ballot deposits or of the drop box after the ballots had been deposited.
- Curiously, a change in behavior seemed to occur on or around December 23, 2020, the day after Arizona authorities announced that fingerprints on absentee ballot envelopes helped uncover an illegal ballot harvesting scheme in that state. After that announcement, individuals depositing ballots into drop boxes in Georgia are seen wearing blue surgical gloves. They often put them on just before picking up their stack of ballots and remove them as they exit the drop box area.
- In the data we reviewed, the 242 mobile devices which repeatedly visited drop boxes also repeatedly visited locations associated with a select group of NGOs. Not only did these devices make repeat visits but a significant number of these visits, approximately 40%, were made during extremely unusual hours in the middle of the night. Additionally, surveillance footage shows numerous instances in which individuals deposited multiple ballots at a time – a practice which is prohibited under Georgia law except under very limited circumstances.
Zuckerberg Bans President Trump from Facebook
On January 7, 2021 — a day after hundreds of people claiming to be President Trump’s supporters had occupied the U.S. Capitol as an act of protest against what they viewed as a stolen presidential election — Zuckerberg announced that Trump would be banned from both Facebook and Instagram — the photo- and video-sharing service owned by Facebook — “indefinitely and for at least the next two weeks” until the “peaceful transition of power” to President-elect Joe Biden was complete. “We believe the risks of allowing the President to continue to use our service during this period are simply too great,” Zuckerberg wrote, referencing “the shocking events of the last 24 hours.” Making clear his belief that Trump was personally responsible for the mayhem, Zuckerberg said that the previous day’s events “clearly demonstrate that President Donald Trump intends to use his remaining time in office to undermine the peaceful and lawful transition of power” and “to incite violent insurrection against a democratically elected government.”
Zuckerberg Voices His Contempt for Trump, His High Regard for Biden, & His Endorsement of Leftwing Political Agendas
On January 31, 2021, Project Veritas released an undercover surveillance video provided by a Facebook insider, in which Zuckerberg, in conversations between January 7 and January 21, had made plain his partisan political objectives. Some key quotes by Zuckerberg:
- “His [Trump’s] decision to use his platform to condone rather than condemn the actions of his supporters in the Capitol I think has rightly bothered and disturbed people in the U.S. and around the world,” he said.
- “I know this is just a very difficult moment for a lot of us here, and especially our black colleagues. It was troubling to see how people in this [Capitol] mob were treated compared to the stark contrast we saw during [Black Lives Matter and Antifa] protests earlier this [past] year.”
- “Yesterday [January 20] was truly a historic day. The past few weeks have certainly been a very difficult time in our nation. But we got our new president [Joe Biden]. We also have the first woman and the first person of color [Kamala Harris] as our vice president in the history of our country. The swearing in of Vice President Harris really stands as a reminder that despite the challenges that we are facing as a country, we all have so much to be proud of.”
- “I thought President Biden’s inaugural address was very good.”
- “In his first day, President Biden already issued a number of Executive Orders on areas that we as a company care quite deeply about and have for some time. Areas like immigration, preserving DACA, ending restrictions on travel from Muslim-majority countries, as well as other Executive Orders on climate and advancing racial justice and equity. I think these were all important and positive steps.”
Zuckerberg Is Sued by Former President Trump
On July 7, 2021, former President Donald Trump announced that he, as the lead plaintiff, was launching, on behalf of the victims of “cancel culture,” a class action lawsuit against Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey and Google CEO Sundar Pichai. Specifically, Trump said he was demanding the end of “shadow banning” and “blacklisting,” and that “we are asking the court to impose punitive damages on these social media giants.” “There is no better evidence that big tech is out of control than the fact that they banned the sitting President of the United States earlier this year, a ban that continues to this day,” he added.
For additional information on Mark Zuckerberg, click here.
-  In December 2015, Shurat HaDin initiated what it called “The Big Facebook Experiment,” which sought to expose Facebook’s double standard regarding hateful rhetoric that targeted Muslims as opposed to Jews. Specifically, the NGO created two nearly-identical pages—one anti-Israel, the other anti-Palestinian—and then proceeded to post nearly identical hateful content on both pages simultaneously. According to the Jerusalem Post: “The page inciting against Palestinians was closed by Facebook (on the same day that it was reported) for ‘containing credible threat of violence’ which ‘violated our [Facebook’s] community standards’ … The page inciting against Israelis, however, was not shut down, despite its identical hateful content. Shurat HaDin said that Facebook claimed that this page was ‘not in violation of Facebook’s rules.’”
- On March 20, 2018, The Guardian reported the following:”Hundreds of millions of Facebook users are likely to have had their private information harvested by companies that exploited the same terms as the firm that collected data and passed it on to Cambridge Analytica, according to a new whistleblower. Sandy Parakilas, the platform operations manager at Facebook responsible for policing data breaches by third-party software developers between 2011 and 2012, told the Guardian he warned senior executives at the company that its lax approach to data protection risked a major breach. ‘My concerns were that all of the data that left Facebook servers to developers could not be monitored by Facebook, so we had no idea what developers were doing with the data,’ he said.”Parakilas said Facebook had terms of service and settings that ‘people didn’t read or understand’ and the company did not use its enforcement mechanisms, including audits of external developers, to ensure data was not being misused…. Asked what kind of control Facebook had over the data given to outside developers, he replied: ‘Zero. Absolutely none. Once the data left Facebook servers there was not any control, and there was no insight into what was going on.’ … He said one Facebook executive advised him against looking too deeply at how the data was being used, warning him: ‘Do you really want to see what you’ll find?’ Parakilas said he interpreted the comment to mean that ‘Facebook was in a stronger legal position if it didn’t know about the abuse that was happening’….”Parakilas, 38, who now works as a product manager for Uber, is particularly critical of Facebook’s previous policy of allowing developers to access the personal data of friends of people who used apps on the platform, without the knowledge or express consent of those friends. That feature, called friends permission, was a boon to outside software developers who, from 2007 onwards, were given permission by Facebook to build quizzes and games – like the widely popular FarmVille – that were hosted on the platform. The apps proliferated on Facebook in the years leading up to the company’s 2012 initial public offering…. Facebook took a 30% cut of payments made through apps, but in return enabled their creators to have access to Facebook user data.”Parakilas does not know how many companies sought friends permission data before such access was terminated around mid-2014. However, he said he believes tens or maybe even hundreds of thousands of developers may have done so….”During the time he was at Facebook, Parakilas said the company was keen to encourage more developers to build apps for its platform and ‘one of the main ways to get developers interested in building apps was through offering them access to this data.’ … While the previous policy of giving developers access to Facebook users’ friends’ data was sanctioned in the small print in Facebook’s terms and conditions, and users could block such data sharing by changing their settings, Parakilas said he believed the policy was problematic. ‘It was well understood in the company that that presented a risk,’ he said. ‘Facebook was giving data of people who had not authorized the app themselves, and was relying on terms of service and settings that people didn’t read or understand.'”It was this feature that was exploited by Global Science Research, and the data provided to Cambridge Analytica in 2014. GSR was run by the Cambridge University psychologist Aleksandr Kogan, who built an app that was a personality test for Facebook users. The test automatically downloaded the data of friends of people who took the quiz, ostensibly for academic purposes. Cambridge Analytica has denied knowing the data was obtained improperly, and Kogan maintains he did nothing illegal and had a ‘close working relationship’ with Facebook. While Kogan’s app only attracted around 270,000 users (most of whom were paid to take the quiz), the company was then able to exploit the friends permission feature to quickly amass data pertaining to more than 50 million Facebook users.”
- The Gizmodo story reported that a politically conservative individual who had formerly worked on the “trending” news section said, on condition of anonymity, that “workers prevented stories about the right-wing CPAC gathering, Mitt Romney, Rand Paul, and other conservative topics from appearing in the highly-influential section, even though they were organically trending among the site’s users.” Added the story:“Several former Facebook ‘news curators,’ as they were known internally, also told Gizmodo that they were instructed to artificially ‘inject’ selected stories into the trending news module, even if they weren’t popular enough to warrant inclusion—or in some cases weren’t trending at all…. [C]urators have access to a ranked list of trending topics surfaced by Facebook’s algorithm, which prioritizes the stories that should be shown to Facebook users in the trending section. The curators write headlines and summaries of each topic, and include links to news sites. The section, which launched in 2014, constitutes some of the most powerful real estate on the internet and helps dictate what news Facebook’s users—167 million in the U.S. alone—are reading at any given moment.“’Depending on who was on shift, things would be blacklisted or trending,’ said the former curator…. ‘I’d come on shift and I’d discover that CPAC or Mitt Romney or Glenn Beck or popular conservative topics wouldn’t be trending because either the curator didn’t recognize the news topic or it was like they had a bias against Ted Cruz.’“The former curator was so troubled by the omissions that they kept a running log of them at the time; this individual provided the notes to Gizmodo. Among the deep-sixed or suppressed topics on the list: former IRS official Lois Lerner, who was accused by Republicans of inappropriately scrutinizing conservative groups; Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker; popular conservative news aggregator the Drudge Report; Chris Kyle, the former Navy SEAL who was murdered in 2013; and former Fox News contributor Steven Crowder. ‘I believe it had a chilling effect on conservative news,’ the former curator said….“The conservative curator described the omissions as a function of his colleagues’ judgements; there is no evidence that Facebook management mandated or was even aware of any political bias at work.”Zuckerberg and fellow Facebook officials denied the allegations.
- Much of the information in this section is derived chiefly from “How Zuckerbucks Funded Biden,” by Matthew Vadum (December 22, 2020).
The Legitimacy and Effect of Private Funding in Federal and State Electoral Processes
By Belinda Pierce Groner
(Prepared for Phill Kline)
Thomas More Society
December 14, 2020
How Zuckerbucks Funded Biden
By Matthew Vadum
December 22, 2020
Facebook Oversight Board … Is 95% Anti-Trump, and Three Quarters Are Non-U.S. Citizens
By Raheem Kassam and Natalie Winters
June 23, 2020
Facebook Puts Soros, Muslim Brotherhood, Activists in Charge of Censorship
By Daniel Greenfield
Facebook’s Digital Reign of Terror
By Matthew Vadum
March 8, 2018
How Big Tech Elites Are Helping China Achieve Global Supremacy
By Peter Schweizer
January 22, 2022
The $50 Billion Hypocrite
By John Perazzo
April 1, 2016