Zuckerberg created one of the world’s largest and most important platforms for spreading news and information — and fake news and disinformation. It was one of the platforms Russian and other foreign propagandists used most effectively in 2016 to pass off lies as real news stories and to spread messages designed to divide Americans by race.
But what Facebook once allowedthrough organizational passivity, it is now doing willfully. Zuckerberg’s company, the owner of Instagram, has caved to pressure from Moscow and has agreed to suppress Instagram posts that Putin’s critics have dug up and presented as concrete evidence of astounding official corruption.
Alexei Navalny, leader of the political opposition, alerted the world this week to Instagram posts that gave Russians and others a rare look at the high-flying lifestyle that government officials enjoy. In contrast to Putin’s manufactured image as a selfless public servant, the posts show Russia’s deputy prime minister, a powerful Putin ally, socializing on a yacht owned by Russian industrialist Oleg Deripaska, on a trip where the available evidence strongly hints they traded corrupt favors. The two men also tried to conceal the fact of their meeting, with the deputy prime minister leaving the yacht before it returned to port.
In a video showcasing these posts about the yacht trip, along with other evidence of corruption, Navalny presents a compelling case that the official was also brought there on the oligarch’s plane. He states that the free trip, the free jaunt on the yacht, and the prostitutes on board would probably all count as bribes, if Russia had honest law enforcement or courts.
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