Did Facebook Influenced The US Elections?
Mark Zuckerberg is once again in the wolf pit; since many believe that his latest actions on Facebook could have helped Donald Trump to win the U.S. elections, which turns Silicon Valley´s relations with the White House as something uncertain. Naturally, this controversy might represent a delicate situation for the most important member of the tech center, but the question is: could he really be blamed for the elections outcome?
Mark Zuckerberg Didn't Eliminate Trump´s Hate Speech
According to The Guardian, the reason why many believe that Facebook influenced the U.S. elections was because it's apparent irresponsibility on eliminating any kind of content that could represent a misinformation for users. Of course, the content is not exclusively Trump-backer, since the media open its article with a fake quote from the conservative candidate that was running in the social media, in which he said back in 1998 that if he ever runs for president, he will represent the Republican Party, since its voters are very easy to manipulate.
The fact that social media allowed both candidates to post wherever they want regardless if the content was uninformative or offensive was Zuckerberg´s fault, since this was something that he actually permitted, explaining that it would be inappropriate to censor a presidential nominee and that this may allow users to know what the candidates express on the social media.
A Great Strategy To Harm Trump´s Image Before The US Elections
This decision was very divisive since the first moment, considering that it started with a controversial comment of Donald Trump against the Muslims, which was considered as a hate speech for the employees, who wanted to eliminate the post. Once Zuckerberg said no and explained the reasons, many felt so disappointed that even went to the press and threatened to quit their jobs.
As reported in a previous article, even when Facebook was allowing hate speech to exist in its platform, the decision represented a great strategy for Zuckerberg to harm Trump´s image before the elections, considering that if the republican made this kind of unpopular statements, eliminating it would only do him favor, by hiding something that could create more indignation among the people. However, this situation ended up being an awkward scenario in which the problem wasn't the one who made the controversial comments, but the person who allowed it.
The Reality Was Trump´s Best Friend And Zuckerberg´s Worst Enemy
Naturally, another incredible scenario was the reality, considering that Trump´s polarizing statements didn't create the enough rejection as everyone -and mostly Zuckerberg- was expecting , but actually gave him more publicity and media exposure, which unfortunately has been characterized by not having a bad version. Facebook´s CEO has openly shown his position against the republican, and the elections´ outcome represented an incredible setback for him, considering what he bet a lot letting Trump said wherever he wanted.
According to The Verge, Zuckerberg didn't accept the accusations, claiming that it is an incredible lack of empathy to assert that someone could have voted the way they did, influenced by some fake news that was posted on the social media. Getting to this part, this article´s initial question is now answered: blaming Zuckerberg for the elections outcome is an oversized and exaggerated way of seeing things, and only hide the real delicate (and even disturbing) reasons why Trump won.
The new U.S. president is a social media expert that wouldn't be defeated if Facebook had decided to censor him. In fact, he could have take advantage of that situation and said that he was a victim of censorship, gaining more media exposure in the easiest way possible. Somehow, Zuckerberg was actually making an important action by avoiding Trump´s victimhood by letting him said what he wants on Facebook.
It was a political move, because whether he wanted or not, Zuckerberg entered in this delicate field when social media became a power that could even define a presidential election. Trump was elected, and Facebook CEO was probably one of the few Silicon Valley members that seriously stood against him, not with grandiloquent statements, but with actions of this kind. Let´s stop blaming the innocents for once.
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