- The Washington Times - Friday, January 24, 2020

Democratic megadonor George Soros accused President Trump of being in cahoots with Facebook during an appearance Thursday at the annual World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

“I think there is a kind of informal mutual assistance operation or agreement developing between Trump and Facebook,” Mr. Soros said at the event, Bloomberg reported.

“Facebook will work together to reelect Trump, and Trump will protect Facebook so that this situation cannot be changed, and it makes me very concerned about the outcome for 2020,” Mr. Soros added.

Mr. Soros, the Hungarian-born billionaire behind the Open Society Foundations, did not offer any evidence to substantiate a conspiracy existing between the president and Facebook, Bloomberg noted.

Rather, Mr. Soros referenced Facebook’s policy of not fact-checking political advertisements, reasoning it allows candidates such as the president to publish “deliberate falsehoods.”

“There’s nothing to stop them,” Mr. Soros said.

Facebook spokesperson Andy Stone subsequently took to his personal Twitter account later Thursday to flatly reject Mr. Soros’ claim of a conspiracy.

“This is just plain wrong,” Mr. Stone tweeted.

Facebook announced last year that it would not verify claims made in political ads placed on the platform, spurring complaints and calls for the company to reverse course from critics including Democrats concerned with the possibility of the policy allowing candidates such as the president to campaign by paying to spread misinformation on social media.

“Our policy is we do not fact check politicians’ speech, and the reason for that is that we believe that in a democracy it is important that people can see for themselves what politicians are saying,” Facebook co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg previously testified before Congress when pressed about the policy.

Mr. Trump’s election campaign spent heavily on Facebook ads during his run for the White House in 2016, and accounts connected to the president have spent more than $28 million on ads since May 2018.

Andrew “Boz” Bosworth, a Facebook executive who previously led the company’s ad division, said in an internal memo leaked earlier this month that he believed the social network was partially accountable for putting Mr. Trump in the White House.

“So was Facebook responsible for Donald Trump getting elected? I think the answer is yes, but not for the reasons anyone thinks,” Mr. Bosworth wrote. “He got elected because he ran the single best digital ad campaign I’ve ever seen from any advertiser. Period.”

• Andrew Blake can be reached at ablake@washingtontimes.com.

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