You’d be forgiven for missing Donald Trump’s multiple retweets of Facebook executive Rob Goldman over the weekend. Perhaps you were spending time with family, watching Black Panther or just attempting to forget politics for a moment by ignoring the manic flurry of social media updates from the leader of the free world.
But in amongst a deluge of tweets that blamed Democrats for failing to preserve DACA, called out the FBI over the recent school shooting in Florida on the FBI and affectionately referred to a member of congress as “Liddle’ Adam Schiff, the leakin’ monster of no control,” the President cited Facebook’s VP of Ads as evidence against claims that his campaign colluded with Russia.
“The Fake News Media never fails,” Trump tweeted over the weekend. “Hard to ignore this fact from the Vice President of Facebook Ads, Rob Goldman!”
Trump was citing Goldman’s own Twitter dump over the past week, responding to Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s recent indictment of 13 Russian citizens charged with interfering in the presidential election.
“Very excited to see the Mueller indictment today,” Goldman wrote. “We shared Russian ads with Congress, Mueller and the American people to help the public understand how the Russians abused our system. Still, there are keys facts about the Russian actions that are still not well understood.”
Of course, Mueller’s findings haven’t exactly exonerated Facebook in all this. The site, along with its subsidiary Instagram, were mentioned by name 41 times in the indictment.
Goldman’s Twitter storm acknowledges that the social media behemoth has certainly been a centerpiece of Russia’s misinformation campaign, but adds, “The majority of the Russian ad spend happened AFTER the election. We shared that fact, but very few outlets have covered it because it doesn’t align with the main media narrative of Tump and the election.”
Trump spotted the opening and quickly cited it as evidence of the “fake news” campaign to link his election to Russian meddling. While it’s understandable that he would seize upon this sort of statement from a Facebook executive in an on-going effort to put these investigations behind him, among other things, the tweets don’t address the impact that non-advertisement Facebook posts played in the election.
After all, Facebook previously told Congress that Russian-linked ads may have reached as many as 10 million users in the U.S., while the posts from Russian agents were believed to have reached as many as 126 million Americans.
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