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Facebook and Google competed for anti-immigration ad dollars during the 2016 election

Facebook and Google competed for anti-immigration ad dollars during the 2016 election
From TechCrunch - October 18, 2017

In a textbook illustration of the conflict of interest between Facebook and Googles ostensible dedication to free speech and their ostensible espousal of progressive values, the internet giants reportedly took millions in advertising money from a major anti-immigration group at the same time as both were engaged in pro-immigration advocacy.

Bloomberg reports that both companies worked with Secure America Now, which spent millions on ads on the platforms during the 2016 election. SANs ads were execrable scaremongering, invoking the phantom threat of Sharia law being applied worldwidethe Mona Lisa wearing a niqab, for instance.

And these werent merely banner ads placed on popular keywords for xenophobes. They were reportedly targeted and tested with plenty of help from Google and Facebook. The former reportedly worked directly with SAN to improve the campaign, while the latter did extensive A/B testing to see if vertical video would do better. (Head of AR/VR and former head of ads Andrew Bosworth denied the company worked directly with SAN, but confirmed it worked with SANs ad agency.)

A few short months later, in January, both companies spoke out forcefully against anti-immigration efforts, specifically the newly sworn-in Presidents executive order that attempted (unsuccessfully) to ban immigrants from several Muslim-majority countries.

Mark Zuckerberg wrote in a blog post:

We need to keep this country safe, but we should do that by focusing on people who actually pose a threat We should also keep our doors open to refugees and those who need help. Thats who we are.

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