TIMES.KY

Cayman Islands, Caribbeanand International News
Friday, Jun 21, 2024

Facebook secretly planted op-eds in local papers to lobby against tech reform: report

Facebook secretly planted op-eds in local papers to lobby against tech reform: report

Facebook used a front group to secretly plant op-eds in local newspapers nationwide in order to lobby Washington to back down from antitrust legislation aimed at improving competition in tech, acco…

Facebook used a front group to secretly plant op-eds in local newspapers nationwide in order to lobby Washington to back down from antitrust legislation aimed at improving competition in tech, according to a bombshell report.

American Edge, a political advocacy group that was founded by Facebook, launched a public relations campaign in March around the same time that the US Senate unveiled a bipartisan piece of legislation seeking to rein in powerful Big Tech firms, the Washington Post reported.

Even though the ads and op-eds claimed to be from groups representing small businesses, they were in fact paid for by Facebook, one of the wealthiest corporations in the world, according to the report.

The ads and sponsored writings warn of a “misguided agenda” to “take away the technology we use every day,” the Washington Post reported.

Last month, the New York Post was first to report that a slew of local business owners ran scores of op-eds and letters to the editor in several small publications nationwide.

The op-eds were eerily similar in wording as they came to the defense of large tech firms like Facebook and Alphabet-owned Google.

Shares of Facebook’s parent company, Meta Platforms Inc., rose by 0.6% on Wall Street as of 10:36 a.m. Eastern time.

Meta Platforms Inc. is the company behind American Edge, a political action group that has been planting ads, op-eds and sponsored pieces of writing defending Big Tech.


The Post has reached out to Facebook seeking comment on the report.

The Senate bill would target the largest tech firms based on market valuation and user base — likely impacting the likes of Apple, Amazon, Google, Facebook and Microsoft.

The companies would be blocked from boosting their own products and services in search results, among other protective measures meant to promote competition.

American Edge, whose only funder is Facebook, placed op-eds in dozens of local newspapers to make it appear as if there was a grassroots effort to fight the antitrust legislation, according to the Washington Post.

Clayton Stanley, who heads a group advocating for small businesses in Mississippi, published an op-ed touting Big Tech.


It also commissioned studies that purported to show the harm the bill would do to the American tech sector.

The group also ran ads that warned that the US would lose its tech superiority to China if it placed antitrust restrictions on its largest companies.

American Edge even enlisted former national security officials to issue dire predictions of Russian cyber-hacking if Congress went ahead with its planned antitrust reforms.

The ads included pitches from small business groups, including The Alliance, a Mississippi-based economic development organization, which argued against the proposed legislation.

Doug Kelly, the CEO of American Edge, said Meta gave the group “seed money” and that other financial backers are coming on board.


“Instead of attacking these digital platforms, we need to work with these companies toward innovation and access for our businesses to survive,” Clayton Stanley, the president and CEO of The Alliance, wrote in the Mississippi Business Journal.

Mississippi is 2,000 miles from Silicon Valley, where most of the tech giants are based.

Critics charge that Facebook is hiding behind the front group in order to get its message out to an unsuspecting public, which would likely not have received it as well if the company were more transparent.

Publicly, Meta Platforms has claimed to be willing to work with lawmakers to revamp internet regulations.

Former national security officials and senior politicians have also authored op-eds and letters to the editor arguing against antitrust legislation aimed at reining in Big Tech.


A spokesperson for the company told the Washington Post that “we’ve been clear about our support for the American Edge Project’s effort to educate the public about the benefits of American technology.”

“But the proposed antitrust reforms would do nothing to address the areas of greatest concern to people and could weaken America’s competitiveness.”

Doug Kelly, the CEO of American Edge, told the Washington Post that the group received a “seed grant” from Meta, though since then it has added more funders.

“This growth is the result of a keen awareness that protecting America’s technological edge is a worthy and meaningful endeavor,” he said.

Kelly denied that Stanley was paid to appear in its ads. He also defended the PAC’s decision not to disclose its relationship with Meta in its ads and op-eds.

“The Washington Post may not display Amazon’s name on its front page, but the American Edge Project has displayed Facebook’s name prominently on ours since launch,” he wrote.

Newsletter

Related Articles

TIMES.KY
0:00
0:00
Close
Paper straws found to contain long-lasting and potentially toxic chemicals - study
FTX's Bankman-Fried headed for jail after judge revokes bail
Blackrock gets half a trillion dollar deal to rebuild Ukraine
Israel: Unprecedented Civil Disobedience Looms as IDF Reservists Protest Judiciary Reform
America's First New Nuclear Reactor in Nearly Seven Years Begins Operations
Southeast Asia moves closer to economic unity with new regional payments system
Today Hunter Biden’s best friend and business associate, Devon Archer, testified that Joe Biden met in Georgetown with Russian Moscow Mayor's Wife Yelena Baturina who later paid Hunter Biden $3.5 million in so called “consulting fees”
Singapore Carries Out First Execution of a Woman in Two Decades Amid Capital Punishment Debate
Google testing journalism AI. We are doing it already 2 years, and without Google biased propoganda and manipulated censorship
Unlike illegal imigrants coming by boats - US Citizens Will Need Visa To Travel To Europe in 2024
Musk announces Twitter name and logo change to X.com
The politician and the journalist lost control and started fighting on live broadcast.
The future of sports
Unveiling the Black Hole: The Mysterious Fate of EU's Aid to Ukraine
Farewell to a Music Titan: Tony Bennett, Renowned Jazz and Pop Vocalist, Passes Away at 96
Alarming Behavior Among Florida's Sharks Raises Concerns Over Possible Cocaine Exposure
Transgender Exclusion in Miss Italy Stirs Controversy Amidst Changing Global Beauty Pageant Landscape
Joe Biden admitted, in his own words, that he delivered what he promised in exchange for the $10 million bribe he received from the Ukraine Oil Company.
TikTok Takes On Spotify And Apple, Launches Own Music Service
Global Trend: Using Anti-Fake News Laws as Censorship Tools - A Deep Dive into Tunisia's Scenario
Arresting Putin During South African Visit Would Equate to War Declaration, Asserts President Ramaphosa
Hacktivist Collective Anonymous Launches 'Project Disclosure' to Unearth Information on UFOs and ETIs
Typo sends millions of US military emails to Russian ally Mali
Server Arrested For Theft After Refusing To Pay A Table's $100 Restaurant Bill When They Dined & Dashed
The Changing Face of Europe: How Mass Migration is Reshaping the Political Landscape
China Urges EU to Clarify Strategic Partnership Amid Trade Tensions
Europe is boiling: Extreme Weather Conditions Prevail Across the Continent
The Last Pour: Anchor Brewing, America's Pioneer Craft Brewer, Closes After 127 Years
Democracy not: EU's Digital Commissioner Considers Shutting Down Social Media Platforms Amid Social Unrest
Sarah Silverman and Renowned Authors Lodge Copyright Infringement Case Against OpenAI and Meta
Italian Court's Controversial Ruling on Sexual Harassment Ignites Uproar
Why Do Tech Executives Support Kennedy Jr.?
The New York Times Announces Closure of its Sports Section in Favor of The Athletic
BBC Anchor Huw Edwards Hospitalized Amid Child Sex Abuse Allegations, Family Confirms
Florida Attorney General requests Meta CEO's testimony on company's platforms' alleged facilitation of illicit activities
The Distorted Mirror of actual approval ratings: Examining the True Threat to Democracy Beyond the Persona of Putin
40,000 child slaves in Congo are forced to work in cobalt mines so we can drive electric cars.
BBC Personalities Rebuke Accusations Amidst Scandal Involving Teen Exploitation
A Swift Disappointment: Why Is Taylor Swift Bypassing Canada on Her Global Tour?
Historic Moment: Edgars Rinkevics, EU's First Openly Gay Head of State, Takes Office as Latvia's President
Bye bye democracy, human rights, freedom: French Cops Can Now Secretly Activate Phone Cameras, Microphones And GPS To Spy On Citizens
The Poor Man With Money, Mark Zuckerberg, Unveils Twitter Replica with Heavy-Handed Censorship: A New Low in Innovation?
Unilever Plummets in a $2.5 Billion Free Fall, to begin with: A Reckoning for Misuse of Corporate Power Against National Interest
Beyond the Blame Game: The Need for Nuanced Perspectives on America's Complex Reality
Twitter Targets Meta: A Tangle of Trade Secrets and Copycat Culture
The Double-Edged Sword of AI: AI is linked to layoffs in industry that created it
US Sanctions on China's Chip Industry Backfire, Prompting Self-Inflicted Blowback
Meta Copy Twitter with New App, Threads
The New French Revolution
BlackRock Bitcoin ETF Application Refiled, Naming Coinbase as ‘Surveillance-Sharing’ Partner
×