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The Facebook team that tried to swing Nicaragua’s election is full of US spies

A tacit agreement between the government and Facebook appears to have been made: you can keep the profits, but we control the message. As such, a cynic might wonder what functional difference there is between Facebook and the national security state.

by Alan Macleod 

Part 3 - Silicon Valley: tip of US imperial spear

It might be unfair, however, to single Facebook out. Other large platforms are similarly stocked with government plants. Reddit’s Director of Policy, for instance, was formerly a Deputy Director of The Atlantic Council’s Middle East Task Force. Meanwhile, a senior Twitter executive is also an active duty officer in the British Army’s psychological warfare and online propaganda brigade.

Silicon Valley has not only made their peace with this relationship; they actively court it. “What Lockheed Martin was to the twentieth century, technology and cyber-security companies will be to the twenty-first,” wrote Google executives Eric Schmidt and Larry Cohen in their book, “The New Digital Age,” laying out how they saw Silicon Valley becoming the tip of the American empire’s spear.

Washington has already used social media as a weapon aimed at its enemies. In July, Americans in Miami used Facebook to organize an attempted color revolution in Cuba, while Twitter ignored blatantly obvious bots boosting the anti-government message, even choosing to put it at the top of its “what’s happening” sidebar for 36 hours, meaning every user in the world was alerted to the news. Individuals inside Cuba complained to MintPress that the endless supply of fake news citizens receive from the U.S. via Facebook and WhatsApp is spreading disinformation and rotting Cubans’ brains.

Meanwhile, in 2009, the U.S. government persuaded Twitter to delay scheduled maintenance of its app because of widespread protests it was fomenting in Iran, knowing the platform was being used to coordinate anti-government forces. 
 
Last year, Facebook banned all positive references to Iranian general Qassem Soleimani in the wake of his assassination by the Trump administration. “We operate under U.S. sanctions laws, including those related to the U.S. government’s designation of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps and its leadership,” the company said in a statement. Despite the fact that over 80% of the country held positive views towards the general (even before his killing), this meant that even Iranians speaking Farsi with other Iranians online in Iran could not share an overwhelmingly held view. This is but one example of the extraordinary power the U.S. national security state now holds over the means of communication worldwide.

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