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LinkedIn Honcho Funded 'Highly Disturbing' Tactics in Ala. Race

'Embarrassed' co-founder Reid Hoffman apologizes
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 27, 2018 5:23 AM CST
LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman sits in the lobby of LinkedIn's Mountain View, Calif., headquarters on Tuesday, May 7, 2013.   (AP Photo/Noah Berger)
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(Newser) – Reid Hoffman has apologized for using some of his billions to fund a group that used Russia-style dirty tricks in last year's special election in Alabama. The LinkedIn co-founder said in a statement Wednesday that he regrets funding the "highly disturbing" work of American Engagement Technologies, which has been linked to the spread of disinformation on social media, to undermine the campaign of Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore, the Washington Post reports. Operatives allegedly created social media pages in an effort to split the conservative vote and faked evidence that large numbers of Russian bots were supporting Moore.

Hoffman associates say he donated $750,000 to AET, of which around $100,000 went toward the social media disinformation campaign, the New York Times reports. "I want to be unequivocal: there is absolutely no place in our democracy for manipulating facts or using falsehoods to gain political advantage," Hoffman said in a statement. He said he supported numerous groups, and was "embarrassed" by his failure to monitor AET "more diligently." Democratic Sen. Doug Jones, who narrowly defeated Moore in the Alabama race, has denounced the disinformation tactics and called for a federal investigation. (Moore is suing Sacha Baron Cohen over his Who Is America appearance.)

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