Facebook is currently facing the closest thing to an extinction-level event that it has encountered since its Harvard founding a few short years ago. Since that time, it has become one of the most powerful communications venues in all of human history, expanding its reach far beyond U.S. college students to encompass kids, adults, and most of the online-connected globe. Mark Zuckerberg became a billionaire several times over, and it seemed at one time that whatever may happen to this website or that one, Facebook had managed to lodge itself into the internet consciousness in a way that would never come undone.
But those dreams of immortality may be coming to an end. The site is in deep trouble as the details of the Cambridge Analytica scandal come to light – less so with the law and more so with the American people. Millions of Facebook users are beginning to realize that Zuckerberg & Friends do not necessarily have their best interests at heart. The site’s stock has plummeted over the past couple of weeks, its founder is racing to apologize to every news outlet he can find, Congress is threatening an investigation, and #DeleteFacebook is trending. Could this be the iceberg that sinks this digital Titanic?
If it is, says former FEC commissioner Hans A. von Spakovsky, it’s a reckoning that is at least four years too late. In an op-ed for Fox News, the Heritage Foundation member said that whether or not Facebook has some liability for allowing Cambridge Analytics to get their hands on the user data of 50 million profiles, they certainly should face legal consequences for their role in the 2012 election. That was when the site eagerly allowed user data to flow into the campaign of President Barack Obama.
“According to Carol Davidsen, the former media director for Obama for America, Facebook gave the 2012 Obama campaign direct access to the personal data of Facebook users in violation of its internal rules, making a special exception for the campaign,” wrote Spakovsky. “The Daily Mail, a British newspaper, reported that Davidsen said on Twitter March 18 that Facebook employees came to the campaign office and ‘were very candid that they allowed us to do things they wouldn’t have allowed someone else to do because they were on our side.’”
According to Spakovsky, while that revelation may rankle Facebook users and Republicans, the real legal problem is not that the site helped out the Obama campaign…it’s that they did it for free.
“Political campaigns must pay for these services,” he wrote. “Under a Federal Election Commission regulation, giving a mailing list or something similar to a campaign is considered an ‘in-kind contribution.’
“So if Facebook gave the Obama campaign free access to this type of data when it normally does not do so for other entities – or usually charges for such access – then Facebook would appear to have violated the federal ban on in-kind contributions by a corporation. And the Obama campaign may have violated the law by accepting such a corporate contribution,” he continued.
Think Facebook (or, even more hilariously, the OBAMA campaign) will face federal charges – or even a serious inquiry – on these allegations? We doubt it. These Democrats have a funny way of getting away with their slippery business.
Perhaps it has something to do with the mainstream media and their complete refusal to report on the wrongdoings of the left.