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Trump executive owes election to social media for Facebook executive

Andrew Bosworth, one of Facebook’s vice presidents, in an AFP interview in September 2019 in San Francisco. GLENN CHAPMAN / AFP

Trump elected with the help of Facebook? Yes, “Because he ran the best Internet advertising campaign I have ever seen”, simply explains Andrew Bosworth in a text published Tuesday, January 7. The executive sweeps the supposed impact of misinformation, including Russian, on the social network for the 2016 presidential election.

In a long message to his colleagues, Andrew Bosworth wonders: “Is Facebook responsible for the election of Donald Trump? “I think the answer is yes, but not for the reasons that everyone thinks”, he answers in the text entitled “Thoughts for 2020”first released on Tuesday by New york times then by its author himself.

The american president “Was not elected because of Russian disinformation or (the cabinet) Cambridge Analytica. He was elected because he ran the best Internet advertising campaign I have ever seen. Period “says the leader, considered to be part of the circle of advisers close to Mark Zuckerberg, boss of Facebook.

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Facebook will continue to accept political ads

The social network has been strongly criticized for not blocking major disinformation campaigns during elections in 2016. With the approach of the 2020 presidential election in the United States, the group is increasing its efforts to combat attempts to manipulation on its different platforms.

Facebook, on the other hand, refuses to follow Twitter, which launched a block in the pond last October by announcing that it no longer wants to accept political advertising anywhere in the world. Mark Zuckerberg regularly defends the presence of political messages on his network, including if they contain lies or untruths, in the name of freedom of expression.

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Donald Trump’s campaign itself didn’t use “Disinformation or scams” in 2016, says Bosworth. “They just used the tools we put at their disposal to show the right content to the right people”, he believes.

“This does not mean that there is no limit”

Since the social network has not changed its political advertising policy in the run-up to the 2020 elections, “The result could be the same”, he laments, stressing that he himself strongly supports the Democrats. But, adds the manager, “As tempting as it may seem to use the tools at our disposal to modify the result, I am convinced that it should never be done”.

Read also Russian interference in the US election: Facebook ads peeled

“This does not mean that there is no limit”notes Mr. Bosworth, for example, mentioning incitement to violence. But “If we change the outcome (of an election) without really convincing the people who will be governed, then we have only a paper democracy. If we limit the information that people have access to and what they can say, then we have no democracy at all “, he says.

With his message, originally intended to remain internally, Mr. Bosworth said he wanted to “Start a discussion” on the criticisms regularly raised in the press. He recognizes in particular that the group has been slow to react to problems of data security, misinformation and foreign interference and that it could do better with regard to the growing political polarization of network users and the transparency of operation of its algorithms.

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