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Facebook's First Amendment Woes
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O'Dwyer's Public Relations News O'Dwyer's Public Relations News
For Immediate Release:
Dateline: New York, NY
Tuesday, September 14, 2021

 
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Mark Zuckerberg had better rev up Facebook’s PR machine since most people think his platform is shredding the First Amendment.

The Annenberg Public Policy Center’s 2021 Constitution Day Civics Survey finds that more than six in ten (61 percent) of Americans incorrectly believe the First Amendment protection of free speech means that the social platform must permit everyone access to its pages.

That includes rogue players such as former president Donald Trump.

There’s broad political support for that First Amendment fallacy. Two-thirds of conservatives, 61 percent of moderates and 55 percent of liberals believe FB must be a sounding board to all.

The First Amendment, of course, protects Americans from government censorship. It does not cover private companies.

Facebook banished Trump in the aftermath of the Jan. 6 insurrection for using it “to incite violent insurrection against a democratically elected government.”

Zuckerberg did the right thing then and now must deal with the backlash.

We are shocked. Cision, which distributes tens of thousands of press releases annually via its PR Newswire unit, believes that the trusty and somewhat mustry old PR tool still makes sense in today’s fast-paced communications world.

“There are a lot of ways to get your message out, but industry professionals agree press releases are still an incredibly powerful and valuable tool to connect to audiences,” Nicole Guillot, Cison’s COO, said in a press release distributed by PRN.

For its second annual “State of the Press Release Report," Cision analyzed more than 100,000 PRN releases and found that “announce” was the most widely used “action word” in the headline and news releases about DE&I and ESG are up. Those are hardly earth-shattering findings.

Cision promises to unveil more juicy details about its press release study during a webinar on Oct. 14.

It’s nice work if you can get it. The Pentagon has spent more than $14T since the terror attacks of 9/11. 33 percent to 50 percent of that windfall went to military contractors according to Brown University’s Watson Institute of International and Public Affairs.

The increasing reliance on private contractors in the post 9/11 period raises questions about accountability, transparency and effectiveness, wrote William Hartung of the Center for International Policy, in the “Profits of War: Corporate Beneficiaries of the Post-9/11 Pentagon Spending Spree” study released Sept. 13.

He believes privatization reduces Pentagon control over contracting and leads to waste, fraud, and abuse.

Lockheed Martin ranked No. 1 in military contractor riches for fiscal year 2020, hauling in $75.2B. Raytheon ($27.8B), General Dynamics ($21.8B), Boeing $21.7B) and Northrop Grumman ($20.3B) followed.

Hartung believes the 9/11 dramatically changed the political climate in the US, opening the door for funding well beyond what the Pentagon needed to wage war in Afghanistan and Iraq.

The Report highlights a quote from then-Boeing VP Harry Stonecipher, who told the Wall Street Journal in October 2001, “The purse is now open... Any member of Congress who doesn’t vote for the funds we need to defend this country will be looking for a new job after next November."

Nice crystal ball, Harry.

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