Facebook reportedly did not discover that former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg was using a vast array of meme makers to promote his campaign until after The New York Times reported the ploy.
The company’s election team learned about the plan only after TheNYT published a Feb. 13 report showing how Bloomberg’s camp was paying meme makers on Instagram to post sponsored content on promoting his candidacy, according to the Wednesday report, which cited an internal message and a Facebook employee who attended a meeting on the matter.
The Feb. 13 story was posted on an internal message board the Silicon Valley giant uses to monitor content, according to TheNYT. An employee posted the piece and asked: “Do we know about this?” TheNYT reviewed the post.
Facebook’s team then quickly searched across Instagram for instances where meme makers posted pro-Bloomberg content, according to the report. They looked for one thing: whether these social media influencers were disclosing that the content was labeled as bought by the Bloomberg campaign.
The company created an online tool through Facebook-owned CrowdTangle to catalogue all such content. The tool relied on influencers to label themselves. (RELATED: Mike Bloomberg Is Paying The Same Meme Maker Who Promoted Fyre Festival)
Bloomberg’s campaign reportedly wants his social media squadron to describe “why Mike Bloomberg is the electable candidate who can rise above the fray, work across the aisle so ALL Americans feel heard & respected,” according to The Daily Beast.
Bloomberg said in November 2019 that he plans on spending $500 million or more to defeat President Donald Trump ahead of the 2020 election.
Facebook, for its part, changed policies after finding out about Bloomberg’s ploy. The company and subsidiary Instagram previously banned such content from politicians, according to a Facebook representative, Politico reported Feb. 15, two days after Facebook discovered the plan.
The representative also reportedly said that the rule change was under consideration as meme posts from social media influencers was becoming a major tool across Instagram. Facebook’s decision came after Bloomberg’s team linked with Meme 2020, a company behind a slate of successful social media influencers.
Neither the Bloomberg campaign nor Facebook has responded to the Daily Caller News Foundation request for comment.
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