Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez took aim at Mark Zuckerberg after the Facebook founder and CEO critiqued Twitter’s decision to put a fact-check on President Donald Trump’s tweet for the first time this week.
“Zuckerberg is not worried about being bullied by Trump,” Ocasio-Cortez, a progressive Democrat from New York, tweeted on Thursday.
“He is worried that Facebook’s PR operation is falling apart as it’s exposed that their platform relies on white supremacists & disinformation peddlers to be successful,” she wrote “They aren’t ignoring them. They’re protecting them.”
Newsweek reached out to Facebook for comment, but they had not responded by the time of publication.
Ocasio-Cortez later re-tweeted a video from an October House Financial Services Committee oversight hearing, during which she interrogated Zuckerberg directly about Facebook’s policies regarding white supremacist content and fact-checking.
“Facebook’s ties to white supremacy-linked orgs and sympathy for disinformation campaigns is not a small thing,” she tweeted. “It is high level decision making, and appears to come from the top.”
Zuckerberg on Wednesday criticized rival social media platform Twitter for placing a fact-check on two tweets sent by Trump that shared false information about mail-in voting and voter fraud. The president has repeatedly said, without evidence, that expanding mail-in voting will lead to widespread voter fraud and that Democrats will use absentee ballots to “rig” the election.
“We have a different policy, I think, than Twitter on this,” Zuckerberg told Fox News in an interview.
“I just believe strongly that Facebook shouldn’t be the arbiter of truth of everything that people say online. In general, private companies probably shouldn’t be, especially these platform companies, shouldn’t be in the position of doing that,” the Facebook CEO said.
Ocasio-Cortez’s Thursday remarks were in response to a tweet by Tommy Vietor, a former spokesperson from the administration of President Barack Obama who now co-hosts Pod Save America and Pod Save the World. Vietor had tweeted about Zuckererg’s remarks, saying that Facebook is aware that its algorithms lead to polarization.
“Facebook’s own research shows the platform is polarizing the country and driving people into extremists groups, but Zuckerberg is more worried about being called mean names by Trump,” Vietor wrote.
The former Obama administration official appeared to be referring to a Tuesday article from The Wall Street Journal, which showed that an internal Facebook report demonstrated that the company’s executives were aware in 2018 that its platform stoked divisiveness and polarization. “Our algorithms exploit the human brain’s attraction to divisiveness,” a slide from an internal Facebook presentation reportedly said.
As Facebook and Zuckerberg have faced criticism, Trump has reacted in anger toward social media in general following the fact-check being added to his tweet. He has said that social media platforms suppress conservatives and threatened to shut down the platforms.
“Big Tech is doing everything in their very considerable power to CENSOR in advance of the 2020 Election. If that happens, we no longer have our freedom. I will never let it happen! They tried hard in 2016, and lost. Now they are going absolutely CRAZY. Stay Tuned!!!” the president tweeted late on Wednesday.
Trump plans to sign an executive order targeting social media platforms on Thursday. A draft of the order reported by CNN shows that the president’s directive will reinterpret a 1996 law, which has helped to shield websites and tech companies from lawsuits.
“In a country that has long cherished the freedom of expression, we cannot allow a limited number of online platforms to hand-pick the speech that Americans may access and convey online,” the draft order says.