Thrusting Facebook farther into the political spotlight, an internal memo suggests individual employees have the power to “change the outcome” of the 2020 presidential election.
First obtained by The New York Times, the memo was recently written by Andrew Bosworth, a longtime Facebook executive who currently runs its virtual and augmented-reality products and hardware division.
In the now-public memo, Bosworth discusses various topics, from his position as a “committed liberal,” to his contempt for President Donald Trump, to the role that Facebook played in getting Trump elected in 2016.
Most notably, however, Bosworth suggests that he and other employees at Facebook could potentially impact the 2020 election.
Alluding to the prospect of Trump’s reelection, Bosworth writes: “As a committed liberal, I find myself desperately wanting to pull any lever at my disposal to avoid the same result.”
Rather than any internal check or balance, Bosworth admits the only thing stopping him from interfering in the forthcoming election is his own sense of right and wrong.
“The philosopher John Rawls reasoned that the only moral way to decide something is to remove yourself entirely from the specifics of any one person involved, behind a so called ‘veil of ignorance,’” Bosworth writes.
Bosworth is vague about the actual “levers” he and other Facebook employees could use to impact the next election, but he does note the platform’s ability to limit the reach of particular publishers, and otherwise shape users’ content consumption.
After The Times reported on his memo this week, Bosworth insisted in a public post that his day-to-day work at Facebook “doesn’t cover the issues discussed.” In short, Bosworth seemed to be suggesting he is not in a position to impact the 2020 election.
Although Bosworth implores Facebook employees not to meddle in the next election, his musings are likely to unsettle conservatives — many of whom already distrust the tech titan and what they consider its liberal bias.
Last year, an independent content audit found that conservatives had little trust in Facebook; they believed their views were not sufficiently represented across its platform.