Is Facebook a Foreign Agent?

I found this story, reported at Buzzfeed, disturbing:

Extending the reach of its propaganda beyond its borders, Chinese state-owned media is running ads on Facebook seemingly designed to cast doubt on human rights violations occurring under the government’s mass incarceration of Muslim minorities in the country’s northwest Xinjiang region.

BuzzFeed News found three ads — two active and one inactive — within Facebook’s ad library extolling the alleged success stories of detainees at the camps and claiming that the detention centers were not meant to interfere with religious beliefs and practices. The two active ads had been placed in the last four days and were targeted to an audience in the United States and other countries.

Doesn’t running paid advocacy ads constitute agency? Is Facebook a news organization? I thought the company had explicitly denied that. If it’s not a news organization it isn’t excluded from the requirement to register under the Foreign Agents Registration Act.

Just for the record I don’t think that Facebook is a foreign agent. I just think they’re stupid, sloppy, and greedy. They shouldn’t be serving ads from foreign governments to U. S. users at all.

3 comments… add one
  • James P Kirby Link

    I have no problem with a “foreign agent’s” putting ads on Facebook, as long as there is proper attribution. Same for propaganda from Trump or the Pope, both of whose BS is regularly served up on the Web.

  • bob sykes Link

    “BuzzFeed News found three ads — two active and one inactive”

    Please be serious. This is essentially zero effort to influence anyone. The Russians, too, made little or no effort. What did they spend? $100,000 on ads? Please.

  • Grey Shambler Link

    Maybe small potatoes for now, but I’ll bet Xi believes that is capitalism’s weakness. Greed. And we will sell him the rope.

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