Ocasio-Cortez challenges Zuckerberg over ads that lie

Queens Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez sparred with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg Tuesday over the social networking giant’s policy allowing politicians to run untrue political ads.

At a congressional hearing over Facebook’s planned cryptocurrency, the Democratic representative used her time to grill Zuckerberg over whether she could lie in political ads that she then paid Facebook to run.

“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.”

The back-and-forth follows a accusations by Sen. Elizabeth Warren that Facebook allowed President Trump to run ads on the social network that contained false claims.

In order to prove her point, Warren bought ads on Facebook with deliberately false information. “Breaking news,” the ad read, “Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook just endorsed Donald Trump for re-election.”

On Monday, Zuckerberg addressed Warren’s complaints in a conference call with journalists on which he outlined Facebook’s plan to protect against foreign interference heading into the 2020 presidential election.

“I just think that in a democracy people should be able to see for themselves what politicians are saying, and I think that people should make up their own minds about which candidates are credible and which candidates have the kind of character that they want to see in their elected official,” the 35-year-old billionaire said.

The company will now allow politicians to run advertisements on its social networks, which include Instagram, even if they include false information, but it will not allow anyone to run any content that could cause voter suppression, Zuckerberg told reporters.

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