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Thursday, November 03, 2016

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Chanson de Roalnd

While it is great to encourage people to exercise their right to vote, that isn't all that Facebook is doing by encouraging its users to vote. First, let's understand what Facebook is: It is a profit-making company that almost always puts profit ahead of any other consideration, that is, it is greedy, and its current senior management is avowedly and demonstrably liberal. Both of those things determine how Facebook uses its vast power to influence the outcome of our elections.

The Editor has it partly right, when he notes that Facebook will collect and trade information about its users' profiles and political favorites and likes and other indications of preference with other for the best price that it can get. And note, that while you may be able to somewhat restrict other users from seeing your profile and preferences, you can never prevent Facebook from knowing that information, which it then uses to pursue its ends, one of which is making a lot of money.

But Facebook's greed is held just short of being pathological in that it is restrained by the liberal politics of its senior management. Earlier this years, Facebook was caught biasing what it users see on Facebook by de-emphasizing content, emphasizing content, censoring content, etc. and doing all of that in a way that was biased against conservative views or was designed to improve Facebook’s image with mostly liberal voters. So the bubble that users of Facebook live in is a liberal one. Though that is fine for many users, it is not for many others, such as conservatives, who find themselves segregated in their isolated communities. Also Facebook does not automatically share with one's Facebook friends what one post, reserving to itself the right to decide what to share with one's friends.

And even if it would be laudable for Facebook to encourage people to vote, even there Facebook is exhibiting its liberal bias, because Facebook knows that its population of users are more likely to vote for Hillary than for Trump, so turning out the Facebook vote is more likely to benefit Hillary Clinton, especially given the way that it, Facebook, creates an environment that presents a world that is more favorable for its liberal views.

So there is nothing new under the sun; though Facebook exploits a new medium, it is no different than today's legacy media (e.g., newspapers, TV shows and ads, etc.) and that of yesteryear in its attempt to both profit from its knowledge about how its users, as voters, will vote and its knowledge of what can influence them to vote in particular ways, and in its efforts to influence its users’ votes, according to its editorial preferences. Though William Randolph Hearst would abhor the liberal politics, he would immediately recognize, at least in its broad outlines, Facebook's purposes of profiting from its knowledge of voters and influencing elections according to its political and moral preferences.

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