In a panel discussion on Friday’s episode of Real Time With Bill Maher, the panel addressed the ways in which Silicon Valley helped elect Trump with their lazy monitoring of illegal campaign activity.
NBC national affairs analyst John Heilemann explained that people were reporting on the small piece of RussiaGate while it was happening. However, the one thing everyone missed was the flood of fake news stories on social media that popped up in key parts of swing states.
“And it didn’t just come flooding out, it came flooding out in very particular places, in very particular voting groups that were the ones that needed to vote for Donald Trump,” Heilemann said.
“And it came from trolls and bots in Russia,” Maher chimed in.
Heilemann went on to say that he thinks if the case for collusion is made it will likely link back to these Facebook ads and that Trump campaign guidance was likely given.
Singer and songwriter Tom Morello said that he thinks it is a little of the pot calling the kettle black, because the U.S. is the king of election tampering.
“What you say is absolutely true,” Maher said. “America has f*cked with elections in horrible ways in the past, but that doesn’t mean that we should just say, ‘Well the chickens have come home to roost, we’re not going to do anything.’ I mean, it’s amazing when you see the details of this that you — they’re doing it now, this is not over.”
Heilemann said that what is shocking is that Facebook and Twitter are two of the largest companies in the world and have said that they’re neutral on political issues, when in fact, they were complicit.
“Not only did they allow this stuff to happen, then they lied about it from November until just the last couple of weeks,” he said. “They covered it up. They lied about it. They went forward with it. And we are now going to move into a new era where people are going to look at these companies and say, ‘If you guys are going to have this kind of power, if half of the country is going to get its news from Facebook, you guys are going to start being treated like media companies and journalists and that is the right thing. They must take more responsibility when they are this pervasive.”