Facebook Caught Manipulating News to Fight Big Tech Regulation
Social media giant paid off news outlets to change narrative
Facebook has been caught paying off media outlets to manipulate the news in order to gain support in fighting Big Tech regulations, according to a new report.
A report from the Washington Post reveals that a lobbying group funded by Facebook has been planting stories in newspapers across the United States.
According to the Post, a political advocacy group called American Edge was secretly funded by Facebook (now known as Meta).
The organization has been manipulating news narratives by placing pro-Facebook stories in newspapers.
American Edge aimed to oppose Senate-backed antitrust legislation.
The legislation sought to reign in the Big Tech companies and their unyielding power.
American Edge commissioned studies, placed op-eds in newspapers, and worked with minority business associations, former national security officials, and conservative groups to push back against the bill.
In sponsored ads, American Edge focused on people’s fear of cybersecurity attacks from Russia and China.
The ads were echoing arguments made by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.
American Edge accused lawmakers of having a “misguided agenda,” and wanting to “take away the technology we use every day,” while alleging that the antitrust bill would negatively affect small business owners.
The group reportedly specifically kept mention of Facebook away from its argument in an effort to hide the company’s involvement with the lobbying group.
A source who spoke to the Washington Post stated: “Facebook can’t be the messenger.
"If we are out there saying it, people won’t believe it as much, so the conversation is how can you set up a proxy.”
In the weeks following the Senate’s passing of the American Innovation and Choice Online Act in January, American Edge launched a campaign against the legislation.
The lobbying group released an ad featuring Clayton Stanley, President and CEO of Mississippi-based economic development organization The Alliance, in which he accused lawmakers of “weakening American technology, threatening jobs and making the U.S. economy more dependent on China.”
Another ad focused on the war in Ukraine and included a warning from national security officials that both Russia and China could gain a “technological edge” on the West as an “unintended consequence” of antitrust regulation.