If Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez or any other Democrat wants to run an ad on Facebook saying a Republican lawmaker supports the Green New Deal, there’s nothing Mark Zuckerberg is going to do about it. Well, probably.
On Wednesday, Zuckerberg appeared in a hearing before the House Financial Services Committee that was supposed to be about Facebook’s Libra crypto project but that wound up being about pretty much any Facebook-related issue under the sun. Members of Congress grilled the executive on the litany of controversies and questions the social media giant is facing, including hate speech, data privacy, diversity, content moderation, and more. Top of mind for some in Congress — not to mention the public — is Facebook’s policy that allows politicians to lie in their political ads. And Ocasio-Cortez, the first-term Democrat from New York, drilled down on the matter.
“You announced recently that the official policy of Facebook now allows politicians to pay to spread disinformation in 2020 elections and in the future. So I just want to know how far I can push this in the next year,” Ocasio-Cortez said.
She asked whether she could pay to target predominantly black zip codes and advertise the wrong election date, to which Zuckerberg replied that such an ad would be barred. “If anyone, including a politician, is saying things that can cause … that is calling for violence, or could risk imminent physical harm, or voter or census suppression, when we roll out the census suppression policy, we will take that content down,” he said.
“So there is some threshold where you will fact-check political advertisements. Is that what you’re telling me?” Ocasio-Cortez said.