A lobbying group secretly funded by Facebook has perpetuated the fake news narrative by planting reports in newspapers across the U.S. and exploiting the media. American Edge, a political advocacy group founded by the social media giant, has launched a campaign blasting the Senate-backed antitrust legislation directed to expand competition in the tech industry. The organization has commissioned studies, placed op-eds in local papers, and collaborated with various partners - like minority business associations, former national security officials, and Conservative groups - to denounce the bill, The Washington Post announced Tuesday. [tweet_embed] May 21, 2022[/tweet_embed] In its sponsored ads and writings, American Edge plays on citizens’ fears of cybersecurity invasions from Russia and advanced technology in China, echoing key arguments of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. The group has blamed lawmakers on Capitol Hill for having a “misguided agenda’ and wanting to ‘take away the technology we use every day” while claiming the antitrust bill poses a danger to small and minority-owned businesses. As the group distributes its political propaganda, Facebook’s name is still absent from the conversation. A move familiar with American Edge’s inner workings explains is to increase trust among consumers. [tweet_embed] May 21, 2022[/tweet_embed] “Facebook can’t be the messenger,” the source, who spoke to the Post on the condition of anonymity, announced. “If we are out there saying it, people won’t believe it as much, so the conversation is how can you set up a proxy.” Only weeks after the Senate passed the American Innovation and Choice Online Act in January, American Edge launched a campaign bashing the legislation. The group published an advertisement featuring Clayton Stanley, President, and CEO of Mississippi-based economic development organization The Alliance, on February 28, blaming lawmakers in Washington D.C. for “weakening American technology, threatening jobs and making the U.S. economy more dependent on China.” The ad touted the benefits of technology, claiming it was empowering the nation and helping businesses to “innovate and reach their customers through social media and online advertising.” [tweet_embed] May 21, 2022[/tweet_embed] Another ad, which debuted in April, was fed by the war in Ukraine and featured a warning from national security officials that both Russia and China may gain a “technological edge” on the West as an “unintended consequence” of antitrust regulation. The group’s ads run in all 50 states and have even sparked fury amongst legislators sponsoring the American Innovation and Choice Online Act. “I see them on television, I see them online all the time,” David N. Cicilline (D-R.I.), who has led efforts to pass the legislation, stated. “They’re making our point that these platforms have too much power. They have unlimited resources.” American Edge has spent more than $70,000 on Google ads and almost $2 million in ads on Facebook.