Facebook, that technological marvel we have all come to depend on so we don’t have to talk to one another (whew!) while at the same time allowing us to creep on old boyfriends, bake a better casserole, easily donate to good causes and learn how Hillary ran a sex slave operation out of the back of a Georgetown J Jill, is going old school.
That’s right. Facebook has figured out the best way to make sure Russian trolls can’t interfere with the midterm elections this November is to communicate with you in the exact same way your grandparents did when they visited Niagara Falls and wanted you to know it in roughly 5-14 days: They’re going to send out postcards.
Yes, postcards! The words “quaint,” “nostalgic” and “wtf” come to mind.
Facebook has decided the only way to verify that anyone interested in buying political ads isn’t actually an election-meddling Russian working out of a dreary abandoned girdle factor in Screwyouistan is to request a “physical piece of correspondence” (the postcard) containing a special code. The delivery of the postcard is proof they live in the United States. Only after supplying the code to Facebook can a person or organization be allowed to buy political ads.
Katie Harbath, Facebook’s director of global politics and government outreach, told Reuters “It won’t solve everything.” Perhaps they should make Ms. Harbath director of obvious understatement and panaceas.
That said, like a 1,000 white supremacists at the bottom of the ocean, it’s a start and Facebook should be commended for not being embarrassed to admit that, at the end of the day, the U.S. Postal Service is really all you can count on anymore.
I’m a huge fan of the USPS. I love the service, the short pants and the darling little trucks that look like they’re powered by Fred Flintstone’s toes.
Facebook is full of young, fresh-scrubbed biz school grads who probably should be told by the grownups that postcards take a lot longer to get to their destination so go ahead and get another cold brew nitro. This may take some time.
Generations will comically collide when young Facebook employees realize you are often home for a couple of weeks before your friends receive your “Having a wonderful time … wish you were here” postcard with a picture of the World’s Largest Frying Pan on the front.
(Shout out to my birthplace, Rose Hill, N.C., home of the above awe-inspiring contraption and, yes, they still use pitchforks to turn the chickens.) The old system, said Harbath, simply required an email address and a fee in exchange for influence on Facebook.
Now that everyone who isn’t working for Fox News accepts the fact that Russian agents, aiming to get Trump elected, set up fake pages with incendiary names to disperse fake news and doctored photos to hundreds of thousands of U.S. voters, it’s time to do something.
I hope the postcards work. We should probably be suspicious if they come back signed “From Russia with love…”
Celia Rivenbark is a NYT-bestselling author and humor columnist who frequently writes about politics. Visit www.celiarivenbark.com.)
(c)2018 Celia Rivenbark
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Celia Rivenbark is a New York Times-best selling author and humor columnist who frequently writes about politics.