Billionaire Democratic donor George Soros warned a crowd Thursday at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, that Facebook is conducting an “informal mutual assistance operation” to help get Donald Trump elected in 2020.
“I think there is a kind of informal mutual assistance operation or agreement developing between Trump and Facebook,” Soros claimed without evidence. “Facebook will work together to re-elect Trump, and Trump will work to protect Facebook so that this situation cannot be changed and it makes me very concerned about the outcome for 2020.”
Soros, who speaks annually at Davos, has criticized Facebook from the same stage before, insinuating it was like a gambling company for its “addictive” features in 2018, and emphasizing the need to regulate technology platforms last year.
“Facebook basically has only one guiding principle: maximize your profits irrespective of what harm it may do to the world,” Soros said Thursday.
“This is just plain wrong,” Facebook spokesman Andy Stone told Bloomberg in response.
Earlier this month, an internal memo from a top Facebook employee who oversee advertising for the company in 2016 denied that Trump got elected from a Russian disinformation campaign.
“They weren’t running misinformation or hoaxes,” Andrew Bosworth said of the Trump campaign’s efforts. “They weren’t micro-targeting or saying different things to different people. They just used the tools we had to show the right creative to each person. The use of custom audiences, video, ecommerce, and fresh creative remains the high water mark of digital ad campaigns in my opinion.”
Facebook has come under fire both internally and externally for CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s decision to allow political advertising regardless of whether it disseminates disinformation.
“People worry, and I worry deeply, too, about an erosion of truth,” Zuckerberg told the Washington Post in October. “At the same time, I don’t think people want to live in a world where you can only say things that tech companies decide are 100 percent true. In general, in a democracy, I think that people should be able to hear for themselves what politicians are saying.”
Senator Elizabeth Warren, an outspoken critic of Facebook’s lax advertising policy, said in November that a private dinner between Trump and Zuckerberg amounted to “corruption.”