(September 8) In its Gifts Round-up on September 8, The Chronicle of Philanthropy reported, without irony or context that Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan Donate $300 Million for Voting Security.
The pledged gift will come from the Chan Zuckerberg Donor Advised Fund at Silicon Valley Community Foundation, $250 million of it will provide grants to local election jurisdictions for staffing, training and equipment, and $50 million to help state and local election officials working to ensure the security of elections.
Part of the reason the US electoral system needs to be backstopped by private donations is because social media outlets like Facebook have, according to civil rights leaders and other critics, allowed themselves to become platforms for disinformation and voter suppression.
To tamp down the criticism, Facebook announced on September 3 it will “now prohibit new political ads in the seven days before the election, although ads placed earlier can continue running,” according to the Washington Post.
The Post also says the moves are the latest in a bid by Facebook “to prevent the kind of disinformation that ran rampant on Facebook in 2016, as Russian operatives and others flooded the platform with posts designed to manipulate American voters” and that “Zuckerberg’s announcement was an implicit acknowledgment that Facebook’s previous actions had not gone far enough to prevent a repeat this year.”
The National Post reported on September 8 that “as Facebook moves to ban new election ads in the final week of the U.S. election in November, the company will be monitoring the effects of these policies closely as it prepares for a potential election in Canada.”
The reporting of the Mark Zuckerberg gift brings to mind Anand Giridharadas’ book Winners Take All where he makes the argument that the rich are “groomed to be self-appointed leaders of social change” even as their behaviour creates the inequity, disruption and uncertainty that has caused the societal disruption in the first place.