New York Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez grilled Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg on Facebook’s fact-checking policy of political ads during a hearing Thursday.
“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 told Zuckerberg.
She asked whether she could pay to target black areas and advertise the wrong election date, which Zuckerberg said would not be allowed.
“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 asked.
Zuck says ‘probably’ can lie about votes:
“Would I be able to run advertisements on Facebook targeting Republicans in primaries saying that they voted for the Green New Deal?” AOC asked. “I mean, if you’re not fact-checking political advertisements, I’m just trying to understand the bounds here, what’s fair game.”
“Congresswoman, I don’t know the answer to that off the top of my head, I think probably,” Zuckerberg replied.
“You don’t know if I’ll be able to do that?” she asked.
“I think probably,” he replied.
“Do you see a potential problem here with a complete lack of fact-checking on political advertisements?” she asked.
“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,” he 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.”
Katie Porter grills Zuck too:
Fellow freshman Rep. Katie Porter of California grilled Zuckerberg about Facebook’s content monitoring employees.
She asked if they were paid minimum wage to watch “murders, stabbings, suicides, and other gruesome, disgusting videos,” which Zuckerberg agreed they did.
Porter noted that workers cannot get health care benefits to treat the PTSD they may get from these jobs and cited a report that employees got “nine minutes of supervised wellness time” each day to “cry in the stairwell while someone watches them.”
Porter asked Zuckerberg if he would be “willing to commit to spending one hour a day for a year” doing the job of the content moderators. Zuckerberg said he “wasn’t sure” that was the best use of his time.
Porter said she took that to mean he’s “not willing” to do the job.