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Tags: linkedin | social media | election meddling | reid hoffman | alabama | roy moore

LinkedIn Co-Founder Apologizes for Link to '17 Election Meddling

billionaire co-founder of linkedin reid hoffman sits smugly
Billionaire co-founder of LinkedIn Reid Hoffman (Tobias Hase/AP)

By    |   Wednesday, 26 December 2018 04:35 PM EST

The billionaire co-founder of LinkedIn has issued an apology for providing capital to a group that was involved in meddling with the 2017 Alabama Senate special election.

A week after it was reported Reid Hoffman indirectly funded the group's efforts to create a disinformation campaign, he told The Washington Post he was surprised and disappointed to learn his money was used for such a purpose.

"I find the tactics that have been recently reported highly disturbing," Hoffman said. "For that reason, I am embarrassed by my failure to track [American Engagement Technologies] — the organization I did support — more diligently as it made its own decisions to perhaps fund projects that I would reject."

It was reported last week the 2017 experiment involved setting up a Facebook page for the contentious Alabama Senate special election. Using tactics Russia is accused of doing during the 2016 presidential election, a group called New Knowledge sought to determine how a social media campaign could impact an election using a few tricks.

The group supported Democrat and eventual winner Doug Jones, so it set up a Facebook page claiming to be conservative voters in Alabama who did not want to vote for Republican Roy Moore — who was accused of sexual misconduct decades prior. The page tried to divide GOP voters and also appeared to work in tandem with Russian bots on Twitter.

Hoffman gave $750,000 to American Engagement Technologies, which then gave a reported $100,000 to New Knowledge for the election experiment.

According to the Post, Facebook suspended the major players in the operation for violating its terms of service.

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Reid Hoffman, the billionaire co-founder of LinkedIn, expressed embarrassment money he sent to an organization was used meddling on social media during 2017 Alabama Senate special election.
linkedin, social media, election meddling, reid hoffman, alabama, roy moore
Wednesday, 26 December 2018 04:35 PM
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