Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez grilled Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg during his congressional testimony Wednesday, and he struggled to come up with responses to her questions.
Zuckerberg sat before the House Financial Services Committee as the congresswoman from New York asked him questions regarding fact-checking political advertisements on the site, which has faced criticisms from other politicians like 2020 presidential candidates Sen. Elizabeth Warren and former Vice President Joe Biden.
"Would I be able to run advertisements on Facebook targeting Republicans in primaries saying they voted for the green new deal? Ocasio-Cortez asked during the meeting. "I mean if you're not fact-checking political advertisements, I'm just trying to understand the bounds here."
"I don't know the answer to that off the top of my head," Zuckerberg said, as Ocasio-Cortez began to move to another question, he added, "I think, probably."
The social media site confirmed earlier this month that these ads were allowed to run, and that in most instances political ads would not be subject to fact-checking.
"Posts and ads from politicians are generally not subjected to fact-checking," according to Facebook's policy. "In evaluating when this applies we ask our fact-checking partners to look at politicians at every level."
President Donald Trump reportedly spent $1.6 million on advertising on Facebook with misleading and debunked claims about former Vice President Joe Biden in relation to the whistleblower scandal in which both politicians are entangled. Facebook did take down one of Trump's ad, but only because he called Biden a "b---h," which violated the platform's policy on profanity.
"So you won't take down lies or you will take down lies?" Ocasio-Cortez asked. "I think that's a pretty simple yes or no. I'm not talking about spin, I'm talking about actual disinformation."
"This is a democracy," Zuckerberg replied. "I believe people should be able to see for themselves what politicians they may or may not have voted for are saying and judge their character for themselves."
The Facebook CEO clarified that the site would take down any posts "calling for violence or could risk imminent physical harm or voter or census suppression."
"There will be some instances where a false or partly false rating from our fact-checking partners will affect politicians," Facebook's policy continues. "When a politician shares a specific piece of content - i.e., a link to an article, video or photo created by someone else that has been previously debunked on Facebook - we will demote that content, display a warning and reject its inclusion in ads."
The congresswoman proceeded to ask about Facebook's partnership with Check Your Fact, a subsidiary of the Daily Caller, which has been tied to white nationalists. Check Your Fact is one of six third-party organizations working with the social media site to fact-check content.
Zuckerberg said Facebook does not appoint the organizations, rather it works with Poynter's International Fact-Checking Network, which has "a rigorous standard as to who they allow as a fact-checker," he said during the testimony.
Facebook spokesperson Lauren Svensson told Vox that "we do believe in having a diverse set of fact-checking partners."
I think Zuckerburg is a far better choice than AOC when it comes to running Facebook.
maxdancona wrote:I think Zuckerburg is a far better choice than AOC when it comes to running Facebook.
What sort of argument is that?
Actually I found the answer from the article (not the video) confusing. They said they allow ads and they don't take down ads which tell lies, but if an ad has lies which has been debunked on facebook, they put other ads or warnings? Do I have that right? Also when asked about their fact checkers, Zuckerberg said, they don't use organizations but rather one specific company (I forget the name, going by memory here on what I just read) but then the CEO turned around and said they used many fact checkers so it left the question of whether they used the fact checker linked to White Supremist up in the air.
He more or less gave her the run around unless I am missing a lot which is entirely possible.
President Donald Trump hosted a previously undisclosed dinner with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook board member Peter Thiel at the White House in October, the company told NBC News on Wednesday.
The meeting took place during Zuckerberg's most recent visit to Washington, where he testified before Congress about Facebook's new cryptocurrency Libra. Zuckerberg also gave a speech at Georgetown University detailing his company's commitment to free speech, and its resistance to calls for the company to crack down on misinformation in political ads.
Facebook confirmed the meeting to NBC News on Wednesday.
"As is normal for a CEO of a major U.S. company, Mark accepted an invitation to have dinner with the President and First Lady at the White House," a Facebook spokesperson said in an emailed statement..
It is unclear why the meeting was not made public or what Trump, Zuckerberg and Thiel discussed.
The White House declined to comment.
The dinner was the second meeting between Zuckerberg and Trump in a month. Zuckerberg also met with the president in the Oval Office in a surprise meeting during a September visit to the capital.
Thiel, one of seven Facebook board members, is one of the few outspoken conservative figures in Silicon Valley. A major donor to Trump's campaign, Thiel is also the chairman of Palantir, a private data technology company that has become one of the largest recipients of government defense contracts with the United States government since Trump took office.
Thiel famously bankrolled a libel lawsuit that effectively bankrupted the gossip website Gawker. Zuckerberg's speech at Georgetown, which he delivered on the same trip in which he met with Trump, was titled "Standing for Voice and Free Expression."
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is defending the company's policy against removing political advertising that contains misinformation, telling CBS News that the network's users "should be able to judge for themselves."
"It's really important that people can see for themselves what politicians are saying, so they can make their own judgments," Zuckerberg told CBS' Gayle King in a joint interview with his wife, Priscilla Chan. "And, you know, I don't think that a private company should be censoring politicians or news."
King pressed the CEO on criticisms the policy has faced, including nearly 200 Facebook employees who wrote a letter arguing that "free speech and paid speech are not the same."
"Well, this is a clearly a very complex issue, and a lot of people have - have a lot of different opinions," Zuckerberg responded. "At the end of the day, I just think that in a democracy, people should be able to see for themselves what politicians are saying."
Pressed by King on whether that still applied in cases when the ads were spreading false claims, Zuckerberg repeated, "I think that people should be able to judge for themselves the character of politicians."
Facebook faced criticism earlier this year after it denied a request from former Vice President Joe Biden's presidential campaign to remove an ad being run by President Trump's reelection campaign that questions Biden's role in the firing of a Ukranian prosecutor.
The video accuses Biden of offering military aid money to Ukraine if it agreed to remove the prosecutor investigating a company tied to his son, Hunter Biden. There is no evidence that Biden pushed for the prosecutor's removal to protect his son.
Facebook said the ad could remain due to "Facebook's fundamental belief in free expression, respect for the democratic process, and belief that in mature democracies with a free press, political speech is already arguably the most scrutinized speech there is."
Zuckerberg also addressed the potential ramifications of antitrust investigations into the social media giant. Forty-seven states and two federal agencies are currently probing whether the company is engaged in anti-competitive practices.
"There's no question that there are real issues that - that we need to keep on working on ... But I think it's important to not lose track of just the enormous good that can be done by bringing people together and building community," Zuckerberg said.
The interview comes as numerous politicians and presidential candidates, including Sens. Elizabeth Warren(D-Mass.) and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), have sharply criticized the social media giant and have called big tech companies to be broken up.
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) earlier this year in a public hearing questioned Zuckerberg on the extent of false information a candidate would be permitted to spread on Facebook under its guidelines.