On Monday, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg addressed the social media platform’s efforts to fight election interference in the U.S. and abroad, and he responded to some criticism he’s been receiving from Senator and presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren.
“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,” Zuckerberg said Monday.
Warren has been going after Facebook recently for allowing Donald Trump to run ads that include claims that are obviously false. The company refuses to take down ads based on if they’re truthful or not. Warren even put up an ad that falsely claimed Zuckerberg is backing Trump, though she made it clear that the ad was intentionally false and simply created to make a point at the end of the ad.
In response to a question about false ads, Zuckerberg on Monday claimed he wants to let people make up their own minds instead of removing these ads: “I don’t think that those determinations should come from tech companies.”
On its face, this response might seem like a simple defense of letting voters think for themselves, but when a man like Trump is in office, critics will surely see this as a rather weak response to a potentially dangerous problem.
Known for posting incendiary, false claims on social media, Trump’s supporters have at times turned to violence in response to them. For Facebook to take a hands-off approach to this issue will appear to some to be the company allowing Trump’s rhetoric to be normalized.
There’s little doubt this response from Zuckerberg won’t satisfy Warren, and their rivalry will likely continue. In recently leaked audio from a meeting with employees, Zuckerberg was heard saying Elizabeth Warren being elected president would “suck” for Facebook. Warren wants to break up big tech companies like Facebook, and it’s pretty clear Zuckerberg is not a fan of that idea.
“Facebook, Amazon, and Google run the internet. In fact, Big Tech spent almost $50 million dollars in lobbying last year. They know they have a lot to lose if Washington starts putting the interests of consumers first,” Warren commented on Twitter earlier this year.
Zuckerberg is set to appear before the House Financial Services Committee on Wednesday to discuss the company’s plans for its digital currency called Libra.