For the last four years, Facebook has done an awful lot to endear itself to Donald Trump. From CEO Mark Zuckberg taking private meetings with the president to the company seemingly laying off fact-checking some of Trump’s very false statements, Facebook has buddied up with the man in charge. Once the focus of conservative ire for allegedly displaying bias against right-leaning news publications, the company has sucked up to its critics and allowed President Trump to run amok. Now that the Trump era is winding down, Facebook is reportedly planning to buddy up with the incoming Biden administration.
According to the Financial Times, Facebook plans to gain favor by addressing issues that align with Biden and his agenda. That reportedly includes a plan to promise a harsh crackdown on coronavirus conspiracies and new efforts to promote climate change information. That will include banners encouraging users to get vaccinated once a vaccine is given approval and information about plans to address climate change, like the Paris Climate Agreement. Mic reached out to Facebook for comment but did not receive a response at the time of publication.
If that all sounds like the kind of stuff the platform should just be doing on its own without any sort of ulterior motive required, well, that's because it is. Unfortunately, Facebook has been particularly lax when it comes to these things, in part, it seems, to appease a president who believes climate change is a hoax, the coronavirus pandemic isn’t that big of a deal, and finds the idea of being fact-checked so offensive that he's threatened to change laws and shut down social media over the perceived "censorship." Studies have found that Facebook has been linked to the spread of misinformation, and that Trump is the biggest spreader of fakes news online, yet Facebook has been too afraid to fact check Trump and other politicians who actively share bad information.
It wasn't until it looked like Biden was pulling ahead in the polls late into the election cycle that Facebook finally decided to get serious, cracking down on antivax conspiracies and launching an information hub to provide factual information about the very real threat of climate change. All of that appears to just be an effort to suck up to the incoming administration, pushing pet issues like, *checks notes* trusting scientists.
"A lot of the Democrats simply hate Facebook right now," an anonymous Facebook employee told the Financial Times. Facebook is afraid that with a Democrat in the White House and increased scrutiny being placed on big tech companies, it may become impossible for the company to avoid regulation. So Facebook will do what it does best: suck up to the people in power.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has said that he doesn't want Facebook to be the "arbiter of truth." It seems what he meant was those in power dictate truth and Facebook won't question it, as long as doing so allows the company to continue to grow its monopoly and operate without real scrutiny.