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[flagged] Facebook head of news cofounded site critical of Elizabeth Warren (businessinsider.com)
101 points by sandmansandine 23 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 80 comments



I feel like this is grasping at straws. Facebook’s head of news co-founded a site in 2015 that promotes school choice, something supported by a majority of people and a super majority of people of color: https://www.nationalreview.com/2018/11/school-choice-strong-....

The articles posted on this site were critical of Warren because of Warren’s opposition to school choice, but has also criticized the other Democratic candidates for taking the same position: https://www.the74million.org/article/stewart-the-democratic-....

The attempt to make it seem like the criticism of Warren on this site has anything to do with Facebook is pretty weak. The site was started long before Warren said anything critical about Facebook. The site also has a good faith basis for being critical of Warren in this front. Warren’s opposition to school choice highlights a distressing fissure within the Democratic Party: https://www.gse.harvard.edu/news/19/08/ednext-poll-democrats...

> African American Democrats support targeted school vouchers, universal vouchers, and charter schools at 70%, 60%, and 55%, respectively. Among Hispanic Democrats, support for the three policies is at 67%, 60%, and 47%. On the other hand, just 40% of non-Hispanic White Democrats support targeted vouchers, 46% support universal vouchers, and 33% support charter schools.

The site is addressing a real debate within the Democratic Party, consistent with its founding principles, not using some contrived pretext to attack Warren for her comments about Facebook.


This article posted to HN yesterday is better IMO: https://popular.info/p/facebooks-top-news-executive-has

It points out Brown is friends with Betsy DeVos.

It points out that Eric Owens, a far-right regular writer for the Daily Caller, has written 11 articles for The 74.

I agree that the part about Warren is grasping at straws a bit. I think it's more interesting that Brown is right leaning, yet she's in charge of FB News. So far, FB News is showing many signs it will be right biased. This just adds more evidence.

The other evidence is the inclusion of Breitbart, but no leftist publications. Also, the fact that Zuckerberg has been having dinners with far-right figures, but no leftists.



I'm not sure what the message is here, though. Should the person running FB news have no political affiliations at all? Because if that's the standard, then it seems what you'll get is just people hiding their political affiliations, which doesn't seem particularly good for anyone.


No, the point is that Facebook has been trying to position itself as an arbiter of political neutrality while consistently taking actions that obviously indicates the bias it has.

You can't claim you have no position while simultaneously taking actions that benefit one side or another. If they're going to go that route, they might as well just come out and say what their bias is rather than gaslighting people into thinking that they're neutral.


Which actions are those? This person was taking sided actions outside the context of FB. Which actions is FB taking that benefit one side?


So what if Brown is friends with someone who shares a commitment to school choice? School choice isn’t a “right-leaning” position. Most of the OECD has it in some form. In Sweden and Denmark, you can get a voucher to go to private religious school. The UN Declaration of Human rights underscores the right of parents to choose how to educate their kids, including religious education if they so desire.

If Facebook treated Brown’s advocacy for school choice as disqualifying, that would actually be an indicator of extreme left-wing bias.


Ah yes, "school choice", a nice rebranding effort for privatizing another industry so Betsy Devos and other aspiring oligarchs can destroy a public good for their profit.


Tell that to the kids going to schools with massive gang problems. Even if they want to succeed it's a constant battle. My wife teaches at one of these schools and she has no problem understanding why kids would want out.


the correct response would be to one 1. fight the gang problems 2. stop tying school funding to localities which perpetuates poor districts being poor and underfunded.

Clearly the solution can't be privatized 'school choice' because the people who need it the most will probably not be able to afford it, and it segregates society further, giving everyone even less stake in repairing their communities. It's a self-defeating cycle.


>the correct response would be to one 1. fight the gang problems 2. stop tying school funding to localities which perpetuates poor districts being poor and underfunded.

Don't be dense. Those are generational issues to solve. There is enough inertia in the system that solutions if there are any, will take decades to manifest. You know this. And nobody will sacrifice their children at the altar of 'social justice' as espoused online by 20something who doesn't know any better. No, they want their children to be safe, and get a quality education.


But it's not happening, so it's not reasonable to expect these voters to rely on hope while their kids are suffering.


An open society isn't going to work if people can't tolerate disagreement.


I think you’re being downvoted because Devos, like most education free market pushers, isn’t looking to profit on school choice. People really think free markets are better. Similar to UBI, people like the idea of freedom.


> People really think free markets are better.

Sure - despite being proven that charter schools (ie, free choice) have worse or equivalent scores to public schools [1]. There is not agreement here, there is controversy and the facts are not on the so-called "free markets" side.

[1] http://www.nea.org/home/33177.htm


Honestly, no surprise (though 'equivalent' is more correct - nea.org isn't a dispassionate objective observer). The dirty secret in education is the quality of instruction, the condition of the building and the textbooks, whether or not iPads are readily available, all of that take a backseat to the circumstances in the child's private life. Stable home and engaged parents that take a personal interest in the child's education will mean those children will do well. We try to put too much on schools and teachers to make up gaps in parenting. A student that drops out or graduates functionally illiterate is a failure of the parents, not the school systems.

Having said that, don't dismiss the idea of choice. Parents, for all kinds of reasons, may not want to be funneled to the specific school or schools they are limited to geographically, and may want to have a different kind of instruction (i.e. they want CHOICE). Opponents of 'school choice' always miss this point.


Choice for "some" is at odds with fair access for all.

Charter school discriminate in responsiveness to requests [1] in admissions against special-needs and the poor (ie, the hard cases). Public schools simply can't do this.

[1] https://www.futurity.org/charter-schools-students-1937902/


>Choice for "some" is at odds with fair access for all

So instead of implementing policies to make sure the choice is available to all, your approach is to remove this choice from everyone and funnel them through the same monolithic system?

Nothing you argued, even if true (and I suspect you're not an objective observer either), is unsolvable through policy or regulatory changes.


Why not try a charitable interpretation of 'school choice'? People I know that support vouchers and charter schools do so because they genuinely care about quality education. Maybe they are misguided, but they certainly aren't doing it to create EVIL profit for the EVIL billionaire class.

As a general principle, decentralization is good.


If they care about the quality of education then they should take steps to ensure that public education is higher quality. Perhaps starting by not voting for people who want to dismantle it.


As I said, that's a separate issue. All I asked of OP is to not impune motives on people who mean well.

Charter and voucher schools ARE public education, they just aren't part of the traditional monolithic bureaucracy. The ability to try different approaches and run different experiments to see if it results in different outcomes, and make fast adjustments, free from the existing hierarchy, is the quality improvement that proponents are striving for.


> Charter and voucher schools ARE public education, they just aren't part of the traditional monolithic bureaucracy.

They also traditionally get to pick and choose who can attend, which often means excluding costly students like any that have disabilities.

> The ability to try different approaches and run different experiments to see if it results in different outcomes, and make fast adjustments, free from the existing hierarchy, is the quality improvement that proponents are striving for.

Great. Let's apply "move fast and break things" to education. What could possibly go wrong?


>They also traditionally get to pick and choose who can attend, which often means excluding costly students like any that have disabilities.

We both know that's not why you take issue with school choice because these kinds of issues can be easily adjusted through policy changes - but you're not proposing policy changes. You want to completely get rid of the entire thing.

And by the way, in the cases of kids with extreme behavioural issues, those kids are also routinely expelled from the public system schools. So again, what are you arguing?

>Let's apply "move fast and break things" to education. What could possibly go wrong?

Can you try and not distort arguments? Nobody except you argued this.


> Can you try and not distort arguments? Nobody except you argued this.

Earlier:

>The ability to try different approaches and run different experiments to see if it results in different outcomes, and make fast adjustments

How is that not "move fast and break things"?

> And by the way, in the cases of kids with extreme behavioural issues

I specifically said children with disabilities. I think it says a lot about you that you're trying to re-frame that as kids with behavioral issues.

I don't think you're arguing in good faith.


>How is that not "move fast and break things"?

Here's an example of charter school: A school that runs their curriculum partially in a foreign language (e.g. French for social sciences, but math in English) so that children pick up a second language while doing regular studies. Is that an example of "move fast and break things"? Implementing something like this would be very hard in a public system. The inertia is too great. That's just one example of a charter/voucher school being responsive to local needs in a way that would be hard for the largely public system (and I'm not saying charters/voucher replace the public system).

What you did was purposely apply a term from programming and startups to my argument for charters and voucher schools. It doesn't apply. Education is never going to be run like a startup with a 20-something founder. EVER. No parent will let a school 'break' their kids' education. But within those constraints, you can try things a little differently to tailor how and what you teach.

>I specifically said children with disabilities. I think it says a lot about you that you're trying to re-frame that as kids with behavioral issue

No. It was an example that shows the public system is also struggling with kids with disablities (in this case, kids with behavioural issues). But that wasn't the salient point. Ignore it. The primary point was just above it: "We both know that's not why you take issue with school choice because these kinds of issues can be easily adjusted through policy changes - but you're not proposing policy changes. You want to completely get rid of the entire thing."


Right, except they have children already and things need to change very quickly to benefit them, and most of us just don't have the time or energy.

It's not reasonable to expect everyone to crusade for reform. I want what's best for my kids now, and if that's a charter school, that's what I'm aiming for.


And it's that kind of short-term thinking that creates a lot of the world's problems in the first place.


Please. It's been decades, not months. These problems are still here. Voters are supposed to just hope it gets better instead of doing what's best for their children?


These problems are here because we keep electing people who's goal is to dismantle public infrastructure. We keep doing that because of the same narrow thinking that causes us to throw everyone else's children under the bus for the sake of our own.

We've inherited the world we deserve. If we want to make it better, we have to earn it. If you don't want to do that, fine, but then you don't get to complain about the results.


I don't necessarily agree with your premise, but I don't think it matters.

Who's "we" here? The people putting the politicians you're talking about into office are not likely the people who would benefit most by sending their children to charter schools. So what is that person supposed to do?


> Who's "we" here?

Everyone, generally speaking. It isn't like the kinds of anti-public-service politicians I'm talking about only ever get votes from the 1%, or even just the 50%.


The National Review has a right wing bias, and has been called the “bible of American conservatism”. Since “school choice” is a conservative policy, it’s unsurprising that the NR ran an article that purports that it’s a popular policy. If we look at the source for the polls the article is based on, they cite polls from a lobbyist group specifically built to push policy on “school choice”.

This doesn’t seem like a reputable source for making the argument that voters actually support this policy.


This survey, conducted by among other people a professor at the Harvard School of Education, found similar results: https://www.gse.harvard.edu/news/19/08/ednext-poll-democrats...

School choice isn’t a “conservative” policy. Sweden, Denmark, the Netherlands, Belgium, etc., have extensive school choice. The US is actually an outlier in the OECD for prohibiting private schools from getting any public funding: http://www.oecd.org/education/School-choice-and-school-vouch...


A similar article seems to have gotten de-prioritized pretty quickly yesterday: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=21504985

What is the hnews policy for when "politics" collides with "tech"? These articles are only going to be more common as the election approaches.


Have a look at these links:

https://hn.algolia.com/?dateRange=all&page=0&prefix=true&que...

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=19769679

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=17014869

If you still have questions they don't answer, let me know what they are and I'll add to the set.


To those who downvote and think this kind of discussion is "off-topic" for HN: When and how do we hold our titans of industry accountable for their actions?

Many here either work at FB or are reliant on their network for work related activities.

All of this would be a whole lot less critical if Facebook did what Twitter did and bowed out of taking political ad money.


> When and how do we hold our titans of industry accountable for their actions?

We don't even hold ourselves accountable for our actions in this industry.


Politics is full of bad actors, I do not think Warren is one of those people. You can disagree with her, sure, but she just wants to create fairness for all in my opinion.

Facebook is the opposite of this, with their closed systems, back door dealings and often shady business practices it makes perfect sense that they are opposed to her.


You don't think the whole debacle about claiming to be native american has hurt her credibility somewhat?


I'll bite even though I'm a bit uninformed here:

I think it's plausible to be told something about your heritage and not question it, especially if it's something spanning multiple generations where the paperwork validating the claim is either nonexistent or otherwise hard to reach. At varying points I've been told by relatives that I'm part Scottish, and told by others that I'm not, and I don't really have a straightforward way of validating this aside from engaging in some intensive research.

I can reasonably extend the benefit of the doubt to Elizabeth Warren that she didn't know if she was actually some fraction Native American or not until the DNA test.


> I can reasonably extend the benefit of the doubt to Elizabeth Warren that she didn't know if she was actually some fraction Native American or not until the DNA test.

But she didn't claim to be 'some fraction Native American'. She said her race was 'Native American', just full-on 'Native American', on an official form.

And she claimed to be Cherokee in a book. That's even more bizarre of a thing to claim. No matter what anyone told her, she must have known she wasn't part of the tribe?

People say she's apologised, but she hasn't really said 'I'm sorry that I...' except that she's caused distress. What does she now admit she did? Lied? Stretched the truth? What does she see it as? What was going through her head. What would lead her to make such obviously ludicrous claims? Even if she did have one recent ancestor, which it turns out she probably didn't, it's still a nonsense claim that she is Native American and Cherokee.

Does she still think she's Native American? Will she describe herself as the first Native American president? If she doesn't, what does she say is the difference between now and when she filled out that form? That's what I'm missing - her explanation.


I'm a little bit Native American, according to my family. I have never claimed that my parents weren't allowed to get married because of their tribes, nor have I put Native American down as my race on a college application.

Warren found a politically convenient fractional truth and exploited it.


Do I think her college admissions in 1975 affect her credibility as a senator in 2020? Not particularly, especially compared to her actual track record.

(if we can find a way to forgive and forget Judge Boof's college "hijinks" I think we can find a way to forgive this.)


Really, people are going to hang her on this issue? Most people have some family lore that isn't 100% verified -- oh, really, your great grandfather was hero in the civil war? maybe, maybe not.

There isn't a pattern of deceit on her part, this "debacle" wasn't a sin of great consequence, all the while it is pushed over and over by someone whose entire life is built on manufacturing falsehoods. "Both sides do it" doesn't apply here. It is like saying I can't be critical of a murderer because I too broke the law by speeding.


What I don't understand is - does she still think she's Native American? If not, what's changed since she filled that form in? It's not her DNA percentage result that has changed her mind, as she saw that as proof. I don't get what her thinking is, and I wouldn't mind her just explaining it.


The contention that she has leveraged claims to be Native American to advance is, at the least, wildly overblown. https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/elizabeth-warren-wealthy-n...


But why did she claim it at all? Even if her family's story was correct, having one Native American ancestor at some point ages ago, does not make you simply 'Native American', does it?


As someone else said

"I think it's plausible to be told something about your heritage and not question it"


I get that she believed that she was small fractional Native American if that's what she was told (and she thought a couple of percentage points on the test proved her right, so she already knew it was very small.) But she didn't claim to be small fractional Native American. She claimed to be simply 'Native American, period'. I can't see why she'd do that?


Agreed, but if I was running for office or using it on official forms I would want to be a bit more certain.


That is a good point of view to have.


I do not think she was some how misleading anyone. She was just wrong.

The world is sloppy, its not perfect, people are not perfect. In the end I dont care about that.


Creating fairness for all is sufficiently vague as to justify almost anything. Politicians, or those with power in general, should not be evaluated positively based on their well meaning platitudes, even if they are sincerely held. Creating fairness for all, if implemented poorly, can and has led to mass murder, genocide, etc. I'm not suggesting Warren would lead to that, or implying it, simply saying that wanting to 'do more good' isn't a sufficient defense.


[flagged]


[flagged]


I'm afraid both this comment and its parent break the site guidelines that ask you not to make insinuations about astroturfing, shilling, etc., in HN comments. Internet users are much too quick to do that, and it poisons discussion.

There's no evidence that the GP comment was in bad faith, and most of the downvoted comments I've seen here broke the site guidelines, so we needn't look for more menacing reasons.

https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html


Follow on

>Please don't use Hacker News for political or ideological battle. That destroys intellectual curiosity, the value of the site.

I stand by my ground in original [now flagged] comment that my request for more clarification was a valid request.

If my claim of political shilling is against the standard, i expect to see political opinion be recognized and classified as rule breaking or the conversation entertained.

It is an application of a double standard that is poisoning to see here.


So to clarify, so long as one has plausible deniability in spreading political opinion, there is a punishable offense for asking for clarification (as i have done in this ggp, your gp comment) as a means to get to the meat of the root claim?

This is in my opinion poisoning of any discussion.

I'll admit, my gp your p comment does in fact jmp the gun, but my original comment was thought out.

It is, again, discouraging and I as a desiring participant find it harder and harder to engage in these topics on this forum.


"fairness for all" ah, the siren song of communism.


Please don't take HN threads on generic ideological tangents. They're all the same, which makes them boring, and tend to get angrier as they go.

https://hn.algolia.com/?dateRange=all&page=0&prefix=true&que...

https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html


Thank you

vernie 23 days ago [flagged]

Fairness bad.


It's pretty clear over the past few months that Facebook has decided that it's going to support specific candidates and is abdicating it's role as a "communications medium" (Trump on the right, Buttigieg on the left).

Their decision to accept paid lies (ads) by candidates (as opposed to Twitter) should tell us everything we need to know that FB views the targeted conspiracy-theory factually untrue bullshit - as a thing to be embraced (nay, not to avoid) - all for profit.

Time will tell if they permit all such ads or only the ones that they prefer.


> Time will tell if they permit all such ads or only the ones that they prefer.

This has already been answered. https://www.cnn.com/2019/10/29/tech/facebook-california-cand...

> Adriel Hampton, a political activist, registered as a candidate for California's 2022 gubernatorial election on Monday so he could take advantage of Facebook's policy allowing politicians and political candidates to run false ads on the platform.

> On Tuesday evening, a Facebook (FB) spokesperson told CNN Business, "This person has made clear he registered as a candidate to get around our policies, so his content, including ads, will continue to be eligible for third-party fact-checking."

The rules will be enforced arbitrarily only when FB wants.


Breitbart being a trusted Facebook news source was kind of jaw dropping.


What's your take on CNN and MSNBC? Mother Jones? The Daily Kos? HuffPo? etc.


Breitbart is an explicitly white nationalist publication. There is no comparison with standard news.

https://www.splcenter.org/hatewatch/2019/11/12/stephen-mille...

Edit:

Good lord people. SPLC has a cache of emails from Stephen Miller written to various people at Breitbart about reporting their stories with explicit white nationalist ideology. You don't have to like SPLC to believe the leaked emails any more than you had to like Wikileaks to believe the leaked DNC emails.

Here's another source if you don't want to give them clicks: https://www.thedailybeast.com/stephen-miller-pushed-racist-s...


SPLC is not an authority on what’s white supremacy and what’s not. They’ve been known to cast a wide net.


I'd encourage you to read the link instead of whatever kind of dismissal this is. They have leaked correspondence between Stephen Miller and Breitbart coordinating the latter's coverage with an explicit nationalist bent. Breitbart relies on Camp of Saints and VDare for their sourcing on policy stories. Have we already forgotten their "Black Crime" news tag?


> with an explicit nationalist bent.

If that's all, it's really interesting that it became white nationalist in SPLC's reporting...


They literally had a section on their 'news' website called "Black Crime" - the terms are synonymous. It's astonishing to me that the crowd would rather parse SPLC's phrasing or history rather than the documentary evidence that there are white nationalists making policy at the highest levels of our government and coordinating with one of Facebook's 'approved news sources'.


Well, taking the maximally-charitable view of things would point out that "Black Crime" would cover ~half of violent crime in the US, and so deserve a category. But somehow I doubt that they'd cover non-black crime to quite the same extent. (Though the maximally charitable view there would be that non-black crime is better covered on other sites than black crime is, and so on)


Gross.


SPLC brands anything they dislike "white nationalism". They're unreliable at best.


You should read the actual link where leaked emails show Breitbard using V-Dare and Camp of Saints as source docs for their articles...


What I said is true, regardless of what Breitbart does.


SPLC? Nope.


Not familiar with HuffPo but based on your examples of either middle of the road to corporate Democratic supporters I think the whole narrative of there being a bias against conservative news is a false victimization claim. There should be a bias against untruths, even wikipedia banned Breitbart and the Daily Mail as references.


Are any of those confirmed to be included? AFAIK none of those are.


Not sure any of those are specifically - but Buzzfeed.news, People, Business Insider etc are listed on the landing page as a sources.


I am shocked that this is news. A business person is critical of a politician. Who cares? Would this be news if, say, the head of Apple News was critical of Donald Trump?


If she was on the board of a publication that promoted teacher's unions and left-wing ideology this would not be news. However she promoted charter schools and is anti-socialism, so therefore it's a big storm in the Twitter-verse.

I for one love capitalism and would rather send my child to a charter rather than the high school near my apartment, where the Dean of Peace Relations was recently convicted for attempted murder of a student he recruited to deal drugs.[0]

People without any means are forced to send their children to the monopoly school if they can't afford private and there are no charters. School choice is always preferable.

[0] https://www.wbur.org/news/2018/05/31/shaun-harrison-guilty-b...




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