Facebook Is Not a Big Player in National Politics

Brendan Nyhan has a warning for us about Facebook:

Nyhan’s point is that there’s no particular conservative bias in this list. I’d make a second point: Most of these posts aren’t partisan or political in the first place. Those of us who follow politics as a hobby think that it’s the most important thing in the world, but the rest of the world doesn’t agree. The readership of most political sites is tiny compared to the readership of sports blogs or mommy blogs or gossip blogs.

This is one of the reasons I’m untroubled about Facebook’s decision not to police political advertisements. I’m no fan of Facebook, but that’s mainly because of their dismal record on things like privacy and data portability. When it comes to political influence, however, there’s little reason to think they play an outsize role. On the contrary, their political influence is minuscule compared to Fox News and talk radio and Drudge and the Wall Street Journal editorial page.

We should be concerned about organized foreign influence on Facebook. We should be concerned about Facebook taking an active censorship role. We should be concerned about Facebook allowing third parties to use private information for political purposes. But taking a hands-off approach to political ads? On a scale of one to ten, it’s maybe a two at most. It’s just not worth getting worked up about.

SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

payment methods

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