David Magerman, the Main Line-based investment-math whiz who famously lost his job last year after criticizing President Trump, has given $425,000 in early money to Freedom From Facebook, a group advocating government regulation and a breakup of the ubiquitous social-media network, Axios reported.
Magerman last year broke with his boss, David Mercer, a backer of Trump and Steve Bannon. He lost his job at hedge fund Renaissance Technologies after publicly criticizing Mercer's politics and Trump's divisive policies in the Wall Street Journal. I published Magerman's manifesto here.
Axios wrote: "Magerman has given more than $400,000 to the campaign — Freedom From Facebook — because he believes Facebook has too much power over how the world communicates. A Republican-oriented consulting firm hired by Facebook had tried to link the campaign to billionaire philanthropist George Soros."
Magerman told Axios that "Facebook had a huge financial disincentive to protect users' data."
"By combining social media, news distribution, advertising, commerce, and business and political networking, it forces people to engage in its platform, even if they only want one of its offerings," wrote Magerman, who owns the Six Points Restaurant Group and is the founder of the Kohelet Foundation for progressive Jewish education.
Magerman compared Facebook's power to spy and influence citizens to the totalitarian "telescreens" in George Orwell's dystopian novel 1984.
By exposing more clearly how Facebook manipulates people for profit, Magerman wants to help Americans decide if they want to join or drop their Facebook accounts.
Other backers include leftish groups Demand Progress and Citizens Against Monopoly/Open Markets Institute, Axios reported. Magerman also told Axios he's not shorting (betting against) Facebook stock.
Facebook spent more than $11 million on Washington lobbying last year, Axios notes, citing the Center for Responsive Politics.