Facebook stops sending staff to help political campaigns

Lester Mason
September 25, 2018

According to Bloomberg, the White House has drafted an executive order that would command "federal antitrust and law enforcement agencies" to investigate companies including Google, Facebook, and others.

The draft order directs that any actions federal agencies take should be "consistent with other laws" - an apparent nod to concerns that it could threaten the traditional independence of United States law enforcement or conflict with the First Amendment, which protects political views from government regulation. Their worst suspicions seemed to come true Friday night, with the emergence of a draft executive order that called for almost every federal agency to study how companies like Facebook police their platforms and refer instances of "bias" to the Justice Department for further study. A spokeswoman, Lindsay Walters, told the Washington Post: "although the White House is concerned by the practices of online platforms and their impact on society, the document is not the conclusion of a formal process of policy development the White House". "Yelp has been consistently critical of Google for actual bias in search results-in local search, for their own competitive benefit", says Lowe in a statement that echoes Yelp's ongoing criticism of Google but doesn't address the question.

Due to their critical role in American society, it is essential that American citizens are protected from anticompetitive acts by dominant online platforms, the order states, according to Bloomberg.

The tenant of the White House has recently stepped up attacks against Google, accusing them of censoring the voice of the conservative and promote articles from media classified to the left in its search results.

The document instructs U.S. antitrust authorities to "thoroughly investigate whether any online platform has acted in violation of the antitrust laws".

While the order does not name any specific company, it will establish Trump's hostility towards social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and such, whom he had openly accused of curbing conservative opinions and news sources online. The company said Thursday it would decrease the amount of direct, on-site assistance it gives to political campaigns, which President Donald Trump's team used to boost his campaign, Bloomberg reported.

News of the possible Executive Order comes as Attorney General Jeff Sessions is scheduled to meet with state attorneys general on September 25th.

Neither the National Economic Council nor the Office of Science and Technology Policy is responsible for the document, according to the Post.

"It would be entirely insane", said one lawyer with knowledge of the document. It said that political organisations still would be able to contact employees to receive basic training on using Facebook or for assistance on getting ads approved.

"Antitrust is about competition", he explained, but that involves business, not the marketplace of ideas.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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