Facebook ❤️ Fascism

David Golumbia
16 min readOct 20, 2021

Its Current Astrology Ad Campaign Shows that Facebook Knowingly and Deliberately Welcomes Hate

“Transcendence”

In a series of appearances in early October, Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen repeated a claim those of us paying attention have heard many times before, so much so that Facebook already has a standard approach to rebutting it. The claim is that Facebook deliberately solicits far-right or hate or fascist content, and that it knows full well that this is not merely one use case for its platform among many — as any method for building community will inherently be — but that there is something special about fascist content and Facebook.

Facebook’s usual mouthpieces, including Mark Zuckerberg himself, and Facebook’s spokesperson Nick Clegg, leapt in to defend the company, following its well-established formula: “I want to be unambiguous: Facebook does not profit from hate,” Clegg wrote in an open letter in 2020 in response to the #StopHateforProfit campaign to boycott the whole platform due to its distribution of racist, sexist, and fascist content, with language very similar to their responses to Haugen. For some reason, you’ve probably already forgotten about that campaign, and Facebook continues to do just what it does. You’ve likely also forgotten about the many other campaigns, the many times civil rights groups have called out Facebook for its “coincidental” promotion of antivaxx and flat earth “theories,” QAnon, white nationalists, the rest of the alt-right, the “Boogaloo,” to say nothing of the many scandals associated with Cambridge Analytica, themselves partly exposed through the work of multiple whistleblowers.

Philippines journalist Maria Ressa, who was last week awarded the Nobel peace prize, has been making similar claims for a long time.

Of course, we can, and Facebook does, prevaricate over what “sell,” “profit from,” and “hate” all mean. We could even honestly talk about the real ambiguities in all those terms. But given what we’ve known for a long time about Facebook’s use of the phrase “we do not sell your personal data,” and given the damning testimony and documents provided by Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen over the past few weeks, we can virtually guarantee that in the tiny tyranny of Zuck’s mind and the executive suites where Real Decisions are made, some form of twisted self-justification…

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David Golumbia

Professor, Writer on Digital Studies, Language, Theory