Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez(D-NY) listens as Facebook Chairman and CEO Mark Zuckerberg testifies before the House Financial Services Committee on “An Examination of Facebook and Its Impact on the Financial Services and Housing Sectors” in the Rayburn House Office Building in Washington, DC on October 23, 2019. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN / AFP) (Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)
Mark Zuckerberg, chief executive officer and founder of Facebook Inc., arrives for a House Financial Services Committee hearing in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Wednesday, Oct. 23, 2019. Despite spending record amounts of money to influence Washington policy, Facebook’s efforts to ingratiate itself so far have done little to assuage policy makers’ privacy and antitrust concerns and in some cases have even made the company’s challenges worse, according to first-hand accounts of its efforts. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images
It was a showdown between Young Millennial and Old Millennial, between socialist renegade and billionaire frat bro, between Congress and Big Tech.
On Wednesday, members of Congress grilled Mark Zuckerberg about data privacy, hate speech, fake political ads, and more, in a hearing that was originally supposed to be about Facebook’s Libra cryptocurrency project but ended up being about pretty much everything Facebook-related, which seems appropriate given the tech giant’s questionable role in politics. But it was Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez who, in her inimitable way, took him to task about whether Facebook allows politicians to lie in their ads.
“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, what’s fair game,” Ocasio-Cortez asked.
“Congresswoman, I don’t know the answer to that off the top of my head, I think probably,” Zuckerberg responded.
“Do you see a potential problem here with a complete lack of fact-checking on political advertisements?” she asked, to which he responded, “Well, Congresswoman, I think lying is bad, and I think if you were to run an ad that had a lie in it, that would be bad. 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.”
She then asked whether Facebook would take down political ads with blatant lies in them. “In most cases, in a democracy, I believe that people should be able to see for themselves what politicians that they may or may not vote for are saying and judge their character for themselves,” Zuckerberg said. (So the answer is no, then.)
“So, you won’t take down lies or you will take down lies? I think that’s just a pretty simple yes or no.”
— CSPAN (@cspan) October 23, 2019
Many on the internet took note not only of what Ocasio-Cortez asked Zuckerberg, but of how she asked it. People responded with fire emojis, old-and-young-millennial comparisons, and even Succession memes.
“In your ongoing dinner parties w/ far right figures some of who advance theories that white supremacy is a hoax …” @AOC exposing the casualization of techno-capital racism: “DINNER PARTIES” https://t.co/xrvojKS0DJ
— Minh-Ha T. Pham (@minh81) October 23, 2019
AOC versus Zuck is the young millennial-old millennial showdown we don’t even deserve.
— Irin Carmon (@irin) October 23, 2019
i mean come on, this is too easy pic.twitter.com/PFhUbIAFX7
— Brian Grubb (@briancgrubb) October 23, 2019
And finally, could he have said “Congresswoman” any more times?!
I just need Mark Zuckerberg to stop saying “Congresswoman”
— natalie g (@nataliereports) October 23, 2019
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