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Inside the Facebook Team Helping Regimes That Reach Out—and Crack Down

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Bloomberg
December 21, 2017

Under fire for Facebook Inc.’s role as a platform for political propaganda, co-founder Mark Zuckerberg has punched back, saying his mission is above partisanship.

“We hope to give all people a voice and create a platform for all ideas,” Zuckerberg wrote in September after President Donald Trump accused Facebook of bias.

Zuckerberg’s social network is a politically agnostic tool for its more than 2 billion users, he has said. But Facebook, it turns out, is no bystander in global politics. What he hasn’t said is that his company actively works with political parties and leaders including those who use the platform to stifle opposition—sometimes with the aid of “troll armies” that spread misinformation and extremist ideologies.

The initiative is run by a little-known Facebook global government and politics team that’s neutral in that it works with nearly anyone seeking or securing power. The unit is led from Washington by Katie Harbath, a former Republican digital strategist who worked on former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani’s 2008 presidential campaign. Since Facebook hired Harbath three years later, her team has traveled the globe helping political clients use the company’s powerful digital tools.

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This article was posted: Thursday, December 21, 2017 at 8:23 am





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