The first half of the second presidential debate will be hosted by Anderson Cooper and Martha Raddatz, but for the second half the moderators will be allowed to pick questions and topics based off what is trending on Facebook.
This is not good, particularly for Trump. Facebook was caught redhanded earlier this year altering and subduing trending conservative news items in favor of more liberal posts. Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg is a well-known environmentalist, open borders advocate and vocal liberal. More concerning though is that he’s a public critic of Trump.
“I hear fearful voices calling for building walls and distancing people they label as others. For blocking free expression, for slowing immigration, reducing trade, and in some cases around the world even cutting access to the internet,” Zuckerberg once said in April.
The potential for allowing social media algorithms and tech wizards to influence the debate is dangerous and non-objective. In the closed offices of Silicon Valley, “trending tricks” and manipulation of the trends have raised concerns by the Republicans about unfairness toward Trump.
Social media isn’t exactly an appropriate format for civil political discussion. Both candidates, particularly Trump, could face hostile interrogations from users anywhere in the country, or the world.
That town hall-styled debate will be held on Sunday, Oct. 9, at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri.