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The Facebook logos. Photo: Chesnot/Getty Images

Longtime Facebook executive Andrew Bosworth said in an internal Dec. 30 post that he thinks Facebook was responsible for Donald Trump getting elected, "but not for the reasons anyone thinks," the New York Times reports.

What he's saying: "He didn’t get elected because of Russia or misinformation or Cambridge Analytica," Bosworth wrote. "He got elected because he ran the single best digital ad campaign I’ve ever seen from any advertiser. Period."

  • Bosworth said that Trump and his campaign manager Brad Parscale "did unbelievable work" in 2016 and that "they just used the tools we had to show the right creative to each person."

Context: Bosworth is a trusted lieutenant of CEO Mark Zuckerberg who now heads up the firm's AR/VR hardware projects.

His post went on to note that as a liberal who donated to Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election, he finds himself "desperately wanting to pull any lever at my disposal to avoid the same result" — but he cannot endorse taking that action, despite the temptation.

"I find myself thinking of the Lord of the Rings at this moment. Specifically when Frodo offers the ring to [Galadriel] and she imagines using the power righteously, at first, but knows it will eventually corrupt her. As tempting as it is to use the tools available to us to change the outcome, I am confident we must never do that or we will become that which we fear."
— Bosworth's Dec. 30 post, as obtained by the NYT

What's new: In a public Facebook post made Tuesday afternoon in response to the NYT's article, Bosworth released his original Dec. 30 statements and said several comment threads from his colleagues had changed his views, though he did not specify how.

  • He called for more discussion around other topics Facebook feels it is falling short of "that should be a focus in 2020."
  • Facebook confirmed to Axios that Bosworth's public post to the site on Tuesday was the company's response to the NYT piece.

Go deeper: Zuckerberg’s power to hurt Trump

Go deeper

Scoop: Gina Haspel threatened to resign over plan to install Kash Patel as CIA deputy

CIA Director Gina Haspel. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

CIA Director Gina Haspel threatened to resign in early December after President Trump cooked up a hasty plan to install loyalist Kash Patel, a former aide to Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), as her deputy, according to three senior administration officials with direct knowledge of the matter.

Why it matters: The revelation stunned national security officials and almost blew up the leadership of the world's most powerful spy agency. Only a series of coincidences — and last minute interventions from Vice President Mike Pence and White House counsel Pat Cipollone — stopped it.

Updated 5 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: Coronavirus deaths reach 4,000 per day as hospitals remain in crisis mode — CDC warns highly transmissible coronavirus variant could become dominant in U.S. in March.
  2. Politics: Biden says, "We will manage the hell out of" vaccine distribution — Biden taps ex-FDA chief to lead Operation Warp Speed amid rollout of COVID plan — Widow of GOP congressman-elect who died of COVID-19 will run to fill his seat.
  3. Vaccine: Battling Black mistrust of the vaccines"Pharmacy deserts" could become vaccine deserts — Instacart to give $25 to shoppers who get vaccine.
  4. Economy: Unemployment filings explode againFed chair: No interest rate hike coming any time soon —  Inflation rose more than expected in December.
  5. World: WHO team arrives in China to investigate pandemic origins.

John Weaver, Lincoln Project co-founder, acknowledges “inappropriate” messages

John Weaver aboard John McCain's campaign plane in February 2000. Photo: Robert Schmidt/AFP via Getty Images)

John Weaver, a veteran Republican operative who co-founded the Lincoln Project, declared in a statement to Axios on Friday that he sent “inappropriate,” sexually charged messages to multiple men.

  • “To the men I made uncomfortable through my messages that I viewed as consensual mutual conversations at the time: I am truly sorry. They were inappropriate and it was because of my failings that this discomfort was brought on you,” Weaver said.
  • “The truth is that I'm gay,” he added. “And that I have a wife and two kids who I love. My inability to reconcile those two truths has led to this agonizing place.”