Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., questioned Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg about his company’s complex policies involving false information in political advertisements during a congressional hearing on Wednesday.
Earlier this month, Facebook said it would allow politicians to run advertisements on its social networks even if they include false information, but this week, the company said that it would not allow anyone to run any content that could cause voter suppression.
Ocasio-Cortez used her time during the hearing to emphasize the complexity and confusing nature of Facebook’s new policies.
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“Could I pay to target predominantly black zip codes and advertise them the incorrect election date?” Ocasio-Cortez asked.
“No, congresswoman, you couldn’t,” Zuckerberg responded. “We have even for these policies around the newsworthiness of content that politicians say and the general principle—”
“But you said that you’re not going to fact-check my ads?” Ocasio-Cortez asked.
Later, Ocasio-Cortez drove her point further by asking if she could run ads with false information concerning her Green New Deal.
“Would I be able to run advertisements on Facebook targeting Republicans in primaries saying that they voted for the Green New Deal? I mean, if you’re not fact-checking political advertisements I’m just trying to understand the bounds here,” she said. “What’s fair game?
“Congresswoman, I don’t know the answer to that off the top of my head,” Zuckerberg responded.
“So you don’t know if I’ll be able to do that?” Ocasio-Cortez asked.
“I think probably,” Zuckerberg said.
“Do you see a potential problem here with a complete lack of fact-checking on political advertisements?” she said.
“Well, congresswoman, I think lying is bad, and I think if you were to run an ad that had a lie that would be bad,” Zuckerberg said. “That’s different from it being in our position the right thing to do to prevent your constituents or people in an election from seeing that you had lied.”
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