February 23, 2018

Facebook Ad Exec Points to Russia’s 2016 Election Irrelevance, Then Apologizes

A week ago, Facebook’s VP of Ads responded to Robert Mueller’s indictment of 13 Russians by posting a series of tweets at his personal account contending “very definitively that swaying the (2016) election was *NOT* the main goal.” Instead, Rob Goldman wrote, the Russians’ goal is to “divide America by using our institutions, like free speech and social media, against us.” A short time later, outside and inside pressure forced Goldman to apologize for his “uncleared thoughts.”

Goldman’s tweets are below.

The second tweet on the timing of Russian ad spending notes that ”few outlets” have reported it “because it doesn’t align with the main media narrative”:

FacebookAdVP1on021618

FacebookAdVP2on021618

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Wired.com covered Goldman’s walkback on Monday, coming down squarely against what he did:

… (Goldman) had not cleared his thoughts with either Facebook’s communications team or its senior management.

… He had made, however, two big errors—one of which was obvious and one of which was a bit subtle. The obvious error was asserting that one could understand the scope of the Russian propaganda campaign just through the ads. Russia’s ads were viewed roughly 11 million times, while posts by Russia-controlled accounts had been viewed 150 million times.

Goldman only commented on Facebook ads. Although he displayed the related tweet, reporter Nicholas Thompson never addressed Goldman’s core assertion: Russia’s ad spending mostly occurred after the election. Does he think the Russians figured out how to make ads travel back in time?

Additionally, just as users rarely see or pay attention to most Internet banner ads, the stats relating to “viewing” an ad on Facebook merely mean that maybe a tiny percentage of users even saw them.

Thompson identified two errors, but skipped a third which doomed Goldman: His tweets got noticed by President Donald Trump:

TrumpTweetsOnFBVPofAds02171

There was no way the left, bitterly clinging to its “Russia stole the election for Trump” narrative, or Facebook management (but I repeat myself), was going to allow Goldman’s work to stand.

Goldman’s final error, per Thompson:

… He had made it look like his company was repudiating the work of Robert Mueller.

That’s nonsense. What about what FBI Director Ron Rosenstein said when he announced the indictments“There is no allegation in the indictment that the charged conduct altered the outcome of the 2016 election” — do Thompson and Facebook management not understand?

Thompson believes that the lesson here is that “An executive really smart at one thing seemed to think he was really smart at another thing.” Sure, Nick. What does he know? He’s just Facebook’s Ads VP!

Unfortunately, the real lesson is that “liberal echo-chambers generate a … group-think compliance mindset.” Those who stray from it are humiliated, threatened, and/or punished.

A search at the Associated Press on Goldman’s full name indicates that the wire service did no in-house story relating to this saga (though there is an outsourced link to a Washington Times story at APnews.com). Thus, the wire service did what it could to keep leftists safe in their delusional  cocoon.

Cross-posted, with possible revisions, at NewsBusters.org.

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