I love America. Does my country come up short sometimes? Sure, but I love it nonetheless.
Isn't that what love is all about? Faithful devotion, even despite disappointment? You can understand.
Here's something else you can understand: why that phrase, "I Love America," is so powerful.
In fact, it has to be one the best names ever for a Facebook page, like the "I Love America" page with a 1.1 million fan following, even though it was apparently a Ukrainian political page run by people who mostly, quite possibly, had never set foot in America.
You'll remember this playbook from 2016. Apparently, it's back for 2020 despite rhetoric from Facebook claiming they're ready for it:
- An innocuous page gets a giant following based on asking people to "like" cute dog and cat pics.
- Then, its content expands a bit to include more patriotic and religious imagery.
- People respond, and then it turns into a political disinformation asset that we can only assume is meant to sway public opinion.
"I Love America" was the subject of an investigation that took the better part of a week for Judd Legum, who in turn runs the website and newsletter Popular Information.
As he reported, it was set up in 2017, and ultimately far more reach than some major U.S. brands -- like USA Today, the Los Angeles Times and Buzzfeed News -- despite the fact that records show it was run by 10 people in Ukraine, one in "Kazakhstan, one from France, and [yes], one from the United States."
"I Love America," which Facebook shut down along with several other similar and related pages after Judd's report, was being used to "funnel large audiences to pro-Trump propaganda," as Legum writes.
But the truth is that even legitimate Trump supporters have found that Facebook has no way to help when their authentic political messages get hijacked.
(Facebook didn't respond to my request for comment about all of this.)
A separate Facebook group, called Vets for Trump, was 100 percent legitimately a U.S.-based page founded and run by American veterans who vehemently support the president.
But the page was "hijacked" by "a North Macedonian businessman," according to The Washington Post, and it took months for its legitimate American owners to regain control.
The point here isn't to praise or tear down the president. There are enough other places you can go to for that.
But technology companies play an outsized role in organizing our conversations.
And if an American company like Facebook can't protect American voters from foreign manipulation, you have to wonder how effective they are at handling other vital functions, like protecting your business and your customers.
"If you were thinking that Facebook had taken significant steps to root out disinformation, this is a little bit concerning," Legum told me Tuesday. "You'd think they were paying attention to the big pages. ... My takeaway: I don't know. I'm not inside the company. But it doesn't seem they're doing as much as you think."