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It turns out that Facebook knew Russia was spending oodles of rubles to screw with the 2016 election, but the people in charge decided not to do anything. Rather than act like adults and admit they shit the bed, Facebook hid in their hoodies and paid lobbyists to blame everything on George Soros. Now they're pulling the same "we're sorry" crap that they always do whenever they're caught screwing with people, and bragging about cleaning up their own mess like an oil company after a burst pipeline.


The New York Times published a long and windy tale about how Facebook knew it had a problem as early as 2015, back when Trump was still screaming about his Muslim ban. While the rest of the sane world thought that this was the perfect opportunity to tell Nazi punks to fuck off, Facebook's brass hired Bush 43 alumnus Joel Kaplan, who commanded its faceless horde of hoodies, "Don't poke the bear." Kaplan decided that even if Trump was maybe, kind of, violating terms of service, he was a public figure and hitting him with a banhammer could backfire. In short, Facebook feared Trump would only become more powerful if they struck him down, like an evil Obi Wan Kenobi made of bile, child tears, and Big Mac grease.

Then, in the spring of 2016, Facebook's chief security officer, Alex Stamos, noticed the Russian campaign of pro-Trump fuckery. Stamos told the company lawyers, and started watching the Russians as they shitposted Trump into the White House. But when Facebook's CEO and COO, Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg, found out that Stamos was eyeballing Russian trolls, Sandberg went ballistic. She feared Stamos was making her look like A Idiot in front the rest of Facebook's board, AND left Facebook open to a bunch of lawsuits. Zuckerberg, as usual, sat around with his thumb up his ass and pretended to have emotions.

As Zuckerberg is a goddamn robot, and Sandberg is a self-absorbed hustler, Kaplan convinced the two of them to minimize the appearance of Russian-specific fuckery and go on a PR offensive. Kaplan was worried that Facebook might come across as a bunch of Silicon Valley latte-sipping liberals, so while Mark Zuckerberg was being babysat by Gracie the Bark Ranger during his North American apology tour, Sandberg and Kaplan began shoveling piles of crap onto Stamos's report about Russian trolls. They stalled irate Senators Mark Warner and Amy Klobuchar for weeks before submitting evidence of Russian trolls. In the meantime, some faceless drone wrote one of those lame "I'm sorry" blog posts that never mentions "Russia" once, and Sandberg dragged an entourage to the Hill for a PR offensive.

Facebook then hired a conservative PR firm that specializes in shit-talking and fake news. Led by former JEB! spox Tim Miller (the token Republican on Pod Save America), Definers Public Affairs began tracking Facebook's haters and aggressively trolling anything that might have forced Facebook to acknowledge Russian fuckery. When news broke that Cambridge Analytica sucked up gigabytes of user data for the Trump campaign, Kaplan pressed Facebook to let Definers start blaming random irrelevant things on Google, Apple, and George Soros. When one of Facebook's executives faced protesters during a hearing on the Hill this past July, Definers decided to call the protesters anti-Semites and got the ADL to join in the condemnation. When Sen. Mark Warner started threatening Facebook's profits, Definers made sure Sen. Chuck Schumer remembered his daughter works at Facebook, and pretty soon Warner eased off. Sure, Facebook went out of its way avoid taking a stand or fixing a problem, and made things exponentially worse by putting profits before public safety, but they're building connections that make the world a better place!

Everyone has shifted into damage control mode and is trying to spin this PR nightmare. Facebook published a series of blog posts, one dealing with the story that blames everything on Definers, one that uses terrible infographics to make it look like they've banned Nazis and trolls, a yawn about its government transparency, and a neutered report on cyber threats from Stamos (before he rage-quit Facebook this past summer). Stamos seems to be covering his ass by reminding the press that they pushed bullshit GRU stories too.

Naturally, Facebook has "You're Fired" Definers now that people know about the smarmy mudslinging it was doing to keep Facebook from acknowledging its Nazi problem. On Twitter, Miller said Definers only "shared a narrow document about an anti-Facebook group's funding," and noted that he only trafficked in George Soros conspiracies "based in fact." The Pod Save America guys quickly tweeted that they "getting to the bottom" of Miller's old fashioned Republican ratfucking, and said he won't be appearing on Rush Limbaugh for liberal elites anytime soon.

During a call with reporters yesterday, Zuckerberg denied knowing who actually hired Definers, and said the company needed to go through the roster of scum-sucking lobbyists hired for hatchet jobs to "decide if we want to continue with them." This morning, Sandberg is playing deaf, dumb, and full of shit by telling CBS, "We absolutely did not pay anyone to create fake news." ReCode surmises that Zuckerberg is here to stay, but Sandberg could be fired for appearing feckless and incompetent, and so could Kaplan as his conservative ties, stretching from Breitbart to Brett Kavanaugh, seem to have enriched him and his friends at Facebook's expense. Zuckerberg now says Facebook will create a Supreme Court of content moderation in another effort to avoid the brutal reality that Facebook is a depressing shithole that is only good for breeding Nazis and ugly baby pictures.

Finally, here's a tweet from Kanye West in response to Zuckerberg's ignorant baby defense.

[ NYTimes / ReCode / WSJ / The Verge / CBS News]

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Dominic Gwinn

Dominic is a broke journalist in Chicago. You can find him in a dirty bar talking to weirdos, or in a gutter taking photos.

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