For several years, Facebook has been in bad graces with Democrat policymakers, who blamed the company, recently renamed Meta Platforms, for securing Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential win by allowing Russian operatives to run riot on the social network. Two stories in the past week on Meta’s Washington operations suggest this distrust won’t go away anytime soon.
On Wednesday, the Wall Street Journal detailed how the company’s Washington staff sought to play Democrats and Republicans against each other after the newspaper published stories based on internal research leaked by former Facebook staffer Frances Haugen. To stem the outcry, Meta policy staff told Republican policymakers that Haugen was really trying to help the Democrats, allegations that then showed up in right-leaning publications. The aim of the whisper campaigns: Sow division to stem a growing bipartisan effort to punish the company.