After months of controversy and political outrage, Facebook has finally been called to appear in front of U.S. lawmakers to explain its role in allowing Russian propaganda to influence the 2016 Presidential election. And so far, it’s safe to say it’s not going well for the social media giant.
Earlier this week, Facebook revealed to a Congressional committee that as many as 126 million Facebook users could’ve been exposed to the ads. A Facebook representative also stumbled his way through a response to Senator Mark Warner, who wanted to know if the malicious accounts that tried to influence the recent French election had also been used in the United States. (There wasn’t a clear answer.)
Facebook is struggling because it wants to have it both ways — both accepting responsibility and deflecting it at the same time. However, as early Facebook investor Roger McNamee wrote in a USA Today op ed, the site needs to cooperate fully and stop messing around.
“Accept that your platform is being exploited by bad actors to harm millions of users,” McNamee wrote, addressing Facebook. “Accept that you are responsible because the technology you designed and built was used to cause harm… By not cooperating, Facebook is playing a dangerous game. If they win, we lose. Facebook needs to find a solution where the country wins.”
With so much legal and political pressure, the full set of facts will almost certainly come out. However, whether or not that results in lasting changes to how Facebook handles business is a different matter.
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