politics to go

Did Senator Schumer intervene for Facebook?


New York Senator Chuck Schumer may have been caught in a scandal — not that you’d know from mainstream media coverage.

Before Thanksgiving, the New York Times ran an investigative piece on Facebook’s handling of two major crises — Russian use of the platform in the 2016 election, and the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

Facebook CEO Sheryl Sandberg launched an aggressive lobbying campaign in an attempt to pacify critics, direct anger toward to other social media companies, and to prevent Congress from passing laws enacting government regulation.

Less widely covered was the role of Senator Schumer in deflecting government regulation.

The Times explained, “In Washington, allies of Facebook, including Senator Chuck Schumer, the Democratic Senate leader, intervened on its behalf. And Ms. Sandberg wooed or cajoled hostile lawmakers, while trying to dispel Facebook’s reputation as a bastion of Bay Area liberalism.”

Apparently, in July 2017, in his role as Senate Democrat leader, Schumer told Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA), to “back off” criticism of Facebook. At the time, per the Times, Warner was its “most insistent inquisitor in Congress.”

“Mr. Warner should be looking for ways to work with Facebook, Mr. Schumer advised, not harm it. Facebook lobbyists were kept abreast of Mr. Schumer’s efforts to protect the company.”

A Senate aide said that Schumer had not wanted Warner to lose sight of the need for Facebook to tackle right-wing disinformation, as well as consumer privacy and other issues, the Times reported. Instead, he advised Warner to try to find ways collaborate.

The report also claimed that Schumer kept Facebook’s lobbyists informed of his efforts.

None of the above is illegal, but additional information called the senator’s motivation into question. Schumer raised more money from Facebook than any other member of Congress in 2016. His daughter Alison is now a marketing manager in Facebook’s New York office.

“It sure looks hinky,” strategist Susan Del Percio told the New York Post. “This is an industry that’s been trying for years to fend off heavy government regulation by actively cultivating relationships with senators and House members.”

Even before the report, Schumer’s relationship with Facebook had been questioned. The Daily Caller reported in April that street artist Sabo had plastered New York City with “creepy depictions of the tech executive and the elected official, while advertising a new website ZuckSchumer.com.” Another sign read “Conflict of Interest? The daughter of CHUCK is working for ZUCK.”

Schumer’s spokesman indicated that he may be behind censorship of conservative opinion, saying, “Sen. Schumer has worked aggressively to push Facebook to do more to purge fake accounts and bots used by the right wing and Russians to perpetuate a disinformation campaign.”

Except Facebook did more that. It made itself the arbiter of truth. Seemingly because of Schumer’s efforts, Facebook attacked all conservative accounts. While denying censorship, it revised the algorithms that compile news stories.

A Western Journal Study reported that “liberal publishers have gained about 2 percent more web traffic from Facebook than they were getting before the algorithm changes implemented in early February. On the other hand, conservative publishers have lost an average of nearly 14 percent of their traffic from Facebook.”

One month before the midterm election, Facebook purged over 800 conservative pages. Many of them were colleagues of mine, whose only sin was providing conservative opinions.

None of this is proof that Schumer protected Facebook for corrupt reasons, or pushed it to censor conservatives. But, as Susan Del Percio said, “it sure looks hinky.” I’m not saying there was a pay-for-play relationship, but there’s certainly enough evidence to investigate.

The information above came from liberal sources: The New York Times and Schumer’s own spokesman. Considering the information came from Schumer’s own supporters, the question is, why isn’t anyone investigating Chuck Schumer’s “special relationship” with Facebook?

If Schumer was a Republican, the mainstream media would be all over this story. Instead it is quiet as is the Department of Justice.