Michigan and Ohio state secretaries Jocelyn Benson and Frank LaRose endorsed $300 million directed to elections by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan. The Center for Tech and Civic Life (CTCL) and Center for Election Innovation and Research (CEIR) announced Tuesday that Zuckerberg and his wife donated in order “to promote safe and reliable voting in states and localities.”
Both Benson and LaRose agreed that the investment was necessary considering the pandemic’s effects on the presidential election. LaRose reposted the press release the day it came out, citing the need for accurate information during voting.
“In a time when disinformation is more prevalent than ever, it’s essential that voters have an opportunity to learn the truth about our election from trusted sources, he said. “This huge investment is going to go a long way towards making that happen.”
LaRose’s team did not answer a request for comment.
Neither state secretaries acknowledged Facebook’s longstanding controversies. Twice, the social media giant appeared before Congress on charges of unsavory and monopolistic practices. And, it’s only increased contentious free speech policing with fact-checking tags, deleting users’ posts, and banning users or pages. Not to mention its dark dealings in elections.
Renowned psychologist Dr. Robert Epstein testified last fall before the Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution on big tech election interference. According to Epstein, Google’s manipulations gave between 2.6 and 10.4 million votes to Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election. Epstein stated that Big Tech manipulation could influence as many as 15 million votes in the 2020 election, citing Facebook’s secret experiment on with a “Go Vote” reminder.
“In 2016 if Mark Zuckerberg, for example, had chosen to send a ‘Go Vote’ say, just to Democrats – and no one would’ve known if he’d done this – that would’ve given, that day, an additional 450,000 votes to Democrats. And we know this without doubt because of Facebook’s own published data. They did an experiment that they didn’t tell anyone about during the 2010 election; they published it in 2012. It had 60 million Facebook users involved. They sent out a ‘Go Vote’ reminder and they got something like 360,000 people to go vote that would’ve otherwise stayed home.”
CTCL says its $250 million cut is expressly for polling staff, a rental site, drive-through voting, processing equipment, workers’ personal protective equipment (PPE), and nonpartisan voter education. CEIR promises to purpose the $50 million remainder “to ensure elections are secure, voters have confidence in election outcomes, and democracy thrives as civic engagement grows.”
The extent of Zuckerberg’s influence in the companies after his donation is unclear.
“In 2020 you can bet that all of these companies are going to go all-out,” stated Epstein. “And the methods that they’re using are invisible, they’re subliminal, they’re more powerful than most any effects I’ve ever seen in the behavioral sciences. And I’ve been in the behavioral sciences for forty years.”
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Corinne Murdock is a reporter at The Ohio Star, The Minnesota Sun, and the Star News Network. Follow her latest on Twitter, or email tips to [email protected].
Photo “Mark Zuckerberg” by Anthony Quintano. CC BY 2.0. Background Photo “Voting Booths” by Tim Evanson. CC BY-SA 2.0.