Common Ground was set to be Facebook’s way of getting users on opposing sides of the political spectrum to have civil conversations on the platform until the company’s longtime global policy chief Joel Kaplan nixed the idea.
According to reports by the Wall Street Journal, Kaplan was worried the feature could be biased against conservative Facebook users and played a key role in making sure it never saw the light of day. Kaplan and other executives were uncertain on how Common Ground would impact user engagement on the platform.
Common Ground’s goal was to bring users together from different backgrounds and political views and encourage less hostile conversations.
You may remember Kaplan, who sat behind his longtime friend Brett Kavanaugh during the judge’s congressional hearing as he gave testimony about sexual assault allegations brought forth against him by Christine Blasey Ford.
Facebook employees saw this as a sign that Kaplan supported Kavanaugh, and the company was forced to make a public statement saying that its leadership team “made mistakes” when handling the events surrounding his confirmation.
Kaplan has seemingly been Facebook’s mouthpiece for conservatives. He’s a former White House aide for President George W. Bush and has pushed for a partnership with right-wing news site, The Daily Caller’s fact-checking division, according to WSJ.