A purported news outlet funded by a Democrat-aligned nonprofit is flooding Facebook with millions of dollars in ad spending ahead of the 2020 election, without disclosing any of its political donors, according to a report in Politico.
In its report, even left-leaning Politico admits that the advertising blitz is “blurring the lines between campaign advocacy and a newsroom.”
The articles and Facebook ad dollars look like the efforts of a run-of-the-mill political group. But they are actually from a news outlet: CourierNewsroom.com, also known as Courier, which was created and funded by the Democratic-aligned digital organization Acronym. Courier has spent over $1.4 million on Facebook ads this election cycle, mostly to promote its flattering articles and videos about more than a dozen endangered House Democrats at the top of the Democratic Party’s priority list this November, according to Facebook’s political ad tracker.
But because Courier is organized as a media outlet, it does not have to disclose its donors or the total money it spends promoting Democratic politicians.
The effort is linked to Reid Hoffman, the Linkedin cofounder who infamously funded a social media misinformation campaign, complete with Twitter bots posing as Russian agents, during the 2017 Alabama runoff election.
After apologizing for that episode, saying he was “embarrassed” by it, it appears Hoffman is back in the business of social media manipulation.
And in setting up the enterprise, Acronym — which is financed by some of the deepest pockets in progressive politics, such as liberal billionaires Reid Hoffman, the co-founder of LinkedIn, and Laurene Powell Jobs, the majority owner of The Atlantic — has stirred outrage and provoked debate about the ethics of such political tactics and the future of the press.
Democrats and the Biden campaign are at the forefront of efforts to pressure Facebook into clamping down on “misinformation” which in their view includes banning Trump ads. The practice of using a “news organization” propped up by a Democrat nonprofit to flood the platform with ads in favor of Democrat political candidates creates a major conflict with this message.
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Allum Bokhari is the senior technology correspondent at Breitbart News.