'Do you want to start a fight with Steve Bannon?' Facebook accused of exempting Breitbart from ban on false reports
Facebook reportedly exempted the right-wing site Breitbart and other "select publishers" from rules against spreading false news reports, according to a new whistleblower who filed a complaint against the social-media company with the Securities and Exchange Commission on Friday.
The whistleblower, a former member of Facebook's Integrity team, told the Washington Post that Joel Kaplan, a former Bush administration official who led the company's Public Policy team, once defended the decision to "white list" Breitbart.
"When a person in the video conference questioned this policy, Kaplan, the vice president of global policy, responded by saying, 'Do you want to start a fight with Steve Bannon?'" the whistleblower told the Post.
Kaplan, who has long been accused of using his role at Facebook to protect conservative interests, denied the whistleblower's account.
"No matter how many times these same stories are repurposed and re-told, the facts remain the same," Kaplan said in a statement. "I have consistently pushed for fair treatment of all publishers, irrespective of ideological viewpoint, and advised that analytical and methodological rigor is especially important when it comes to algorithmic changes. There has never been a whitelist that exempts publishers, including Breitbart, from Facebook's rules against misinformation."