Facebook is finally admitting that it allowed fake Russian accounts to run paid political ads during the election (link). Although Facebook says it’s now cooperating with Special Counsel Robert Mueller, the revelation is bringing new attention to the relationship between Facebook Incorporated and the Donald Trump campaign. That relationship involved Facebook sending its employees to help out at the Trump campaign office in charge of digital marketing. The source of this information: one of Trump’s own people.
In an online BBC video, Theresa Hong, the Donald Trump campaign’s Digital Content Director, has made a number of startling confessions that she seems to think were bragging points. She’s revealed that Cambridge Analytica, the company suspected of having used voter data stolen by the Russian government to plot its online marketing strategy on Trump’s behalf, ran its operations out of the same offices where the Trump campaign itself was plotting its paid Facebook ad strategy. But the truly shocking revelation is who else she admits was in the building, which Trump’s people called “Project Alamo.”
The BBC interviewer asks Hong, “What were Facebook and Google and YouTube people actually doing here? Why were they here?” She responds by saying “They were helping us, you know. They were basically our hands-on partners as far as being able to utilize the platform as effectively as possible.” Shen then bragged “When you’re pumping in millions and millions of dollars to these social platforms, you’re going to get white glove treatment. So they would send people, you know, representatives to the Project Alamo to ensure that all our needs were being met.” Watch the shocking BBC video below (link):
This raises a number of questions. First, why did Facebook think it was appropriate to send employees to “help” a presidential campaign so thoroughly that the campaign ended up describing them as partners? What “needs” were being met, and how far did Facebook go to help the Trump campaign plot its strategy? Was Facebook aware of what Cambridge Analytica was doing in the next room? How does this connect to Facebook’s decision to allow fake Russian accounts to run paid ads? We suspect Robert Mueller will be targeting these Facebook employees soon, if he hasn’t already.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report