From the September 28 edition of Fox News’ Outnumbered:
SANDRA SMITH (CO-HOST): A new report is raising questions about whether it's time to put to test all those Russia collusion allegations against the Trump campaign. The Washington Post is reporting that Russian operatives used Facebook ads to exploit our country’s racial and religious divisions and did not necessarily favor any one candidate. The paper citing people who are familiar with the ads. Democrat Mark Warner, the vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, tells the paper it appears the aim of the ads was to sow chaos. Donald Trump Jr. tweeting a headline [from far-right fringe blog Zero Hedge] that reads, “Leaked Descriptions of Infamous ‘Russia Ads’ Derail Collusion Narrative ‘They Show Support For Clinton.’” Some of the ads reportedly promoted African-Americans rights groups like Black Lives Matter and even highlighted support for Hillary Clinton among Muslim women. What do you think of this, Lawrence Jones?
LAWRENCE JONES: This is new technology. It’s going to happen. The fact that the Democrats continue this collusion thing to make their argument, I think it's overplayed. People are already disgusted of it. But it goes to question -- this is a private business. And people can target whatever they want to target. It may be dirty, but you know what, there's no way you can regulate it. And those that are calling for regulation of it, I think it’s wrong.
SMITH: But Donald Jr. says this puts the allegations to rest. Does it?
KENNEDY (CO-HOST): I don't think it puts the allegations to rest when The Washington Post is making these detailed claims that sound very important using big words in a newspaper. Does Washington Post not sell digital ads to anyone? That's why these media empires still exist, is because they are figuring out a way to use Facebook’s technology to target people. What we haven't seen, and they sprinkle a little bit of anecdotal data, but we haven't really seen, like, what is the connection? How do you prove that those ads internalized and changed people's minds? Because that’s the critical question.
TRISH REGAN (CO-HOST): Well here’s the thing, the ads were on both sides. We did some research on The Intelligence Report, and basically we came up with a bunch of ads that targeted Donald Trump as well. So it’s not as though this -- there were other people doing it. I don’t know if they were from the Ukraine. I’m kidding.
JONES: But Trish, what is the difference from the commercials?
REGAN: But in other words -- exactly. So there’s -- yeah, I guess you get the whole fake news thing, and how do you know if it's fake, how do you know if it’s real, should Facebook have more responsibility? And those are questions.
KENNEDY: Well, what resonates more, a Facebook ad or a negative political ad? And how do you measure that? How do you measure what the influences were that went into someone's very personal voting decision?
JONES: Right. And Hillary Clinton had so much money. She had so much money. All I saw was negative, negative, negative.
HARRIS FAULKNER (CO-HOST): And she spent so much money.
SMITH: But the Mueller probe, Harris. Where does this put this?
FAULKNER: You know, it’s interesting, because I think Kennedy has a good point. I don't know how we measure the heart when we watch things. We can do it real time with the focus groups, and we can kind of have an idea, but we’re not in the voting booth with people. So we don't know in the moment that they make a decision whether or not an ad they saw anywhere on social media, but particularly Facebook, really changed them in that moment. And so how do you legislate that? How do you control a private company to keep it from whatever it’s doing?
KENNEDY: And that's also the biggest fear. You bring up the most critical point, is the ultimate end that the government somehow censors Facebook and tells them who to sell their ads to and what the content should be? Because that is an incredibly slippery slope.