Now Elizabeth Warren is demanding corporate censorship

She says Facebook has too much power, and that it should censor political ads.

Shaun Cammack


Elizabeth Warren is shattering stereotypes, in that unlike every other older white woman, she absolutely hates Facebook. She has long led the charge on not only regulating, but also breaking up the tech giants. But her most recent demand of Mark Zuckerberg seems more likely to bolster his power, rather than diminish it.

The Warren campaign recently ran a Facebook ad that opened with an intentionally false claim, reading: ‘Breaking news: Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook just endorsed Donald Trump for re-election.’ The ad goes on to explain that while Zuckerberg hasn’t actually endorsed Trump, Facebook does allow Trump to spread his ‘lies’ on its platform, and makes money from it, too. She was in effect calling on Facebook to act as a moderator in American politics.

The idea that a corporation should be actively engaged in censoring politicians is dystopic and absurd, especially coming from someone who so vigorously opposes corporate influence in Washington. Even if politicians are running deceitful campaign ads on social media, there is already plenty of fact-checking that goes on, and it is better to let some inaccuracies slip through than to give companies the right to stifle political speech on such a grand scale.

Warren’s desire for Facebook to moderate political campaigns doesn’t make any sense, especially as she thinks the company already has too much control over US politics. Indeed, a recent campaign email detailing her plan to break up Big Tech firms read, ‘America’s biggest tech companies are controlling more and more of our digital lives’. She later tweeted, ‘Tech giants shouldn’t be able to wield enough power to undermine our democracy’.

So on the one hand, Facebook holds too much sway over politics. But on the other, it should exert more power over political campaigns. The contradiction here is obvious. All this is really saying is that Facebook isn’t wielding its exorbitant power enough in the right direction. This is an unfortunately common view among many on the left these days.

The hashtag #DeleteFacebook began trending on Monday night. It was a response to news that Zuckerberg had been having a series of informal meetings with conservative commentators, journalists and thinkers. While these meetings are likely intended to quell concerns about perceived anti-conservative bias on Facebook, they were presented by many on the left as Zuckerberg getting into bed with the enemy.

Warren is capitalising on this anxiety and in the process is pushing completely contradictory criticisms of Facebook. This is well calculated but deeply cynical politicking – and it could have significant negative consequences for Silicon Valley, the economy, but most importantly for political campaigning. It is not the responsibility of Facebook to regulate politics, just as it is not the responsibility of politicians to regulate Facebook.

Shaun Cammack is a graduate student at the University of Chicago and a contributor to Young Voices. Follow him on Twitter: @shaunjcammack

Picture by: Getty Images.

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nick hunt

18th October 2019 at 10:22 am

Shaun’s essay lacks balance, as it ignores Warren’s fraudulent behaviour.

Michael Lynch

17th October 2019 at 9:21 pm

So #DeleteFacebook is trending is it. Well the middle class can keep their Twitter then whilst the rest of us Plebs will settle for Facebook. Maybe the self righteous morons will leave us alone then.

Amma Zombi

17th October 2019 at 4:27 pm

Typical owellian anti-democratic, anti-freedom of speech left trying to silence the working class.

Neil McCaughan

17th October 2019 at 12:31 pm

When a proud Native American like Mrs Warren speaks, it’s inappropriate for others to criticize.


17th October 2019 at 10:07 am

Well that great space inside which ISN’T Native American needs filling with something, doesn’t it?

Ven Oods

17th October 2019 at 10:05 am

Politicians holding simultaneous and contradictory views is suddenly news?
How some of them manage to tie their shoelaces puzzles me.
Warren may be anti-tech, but surely she’s not naive enough to think that Zuck would opt for taking in less advertising revenue?

Jim Lawrie

17th October 2019 at 9:55 am

Elizabeth Warren thinks we hang on Donald Trump’s every word. We don’t. But we do relish the apoplexy his utterances induce among her and her cronies.

Her desire to silence Trump is an admission that her bawling falls on deaf ears.
If Trump were kicked off Facebook, her message would be the same, and its effect unchanged.

It is just a reworking of the theme that we are all thick as a brick. Too stupid to discern what Trump says, but so easily led as to be indelibly stamped with her prescriptions, if she is the only one allowed to dispense.

People are laughing at you Ms Warren. You are a trumpet.

Andrew Leonard

17th October 2019 at 7:41 am

“The idea that a corporation should be actively engaged in censoring politicians is dystopic and absurd […]”

But Shaun, getting censorship bills through congress is extremely difficult. Why not encourage unaccountable multi-national internet companies to do the necessary censoring, instead? What could possibly go wrong?

“So on the one hand, Facebook holds too much sway over politics. But on the other, it should exert more power over political campaigns. The contradiction here is obvious.”

Shaun, you’re so five years ago! Don’t you know we don’t care about contradictions anymore? We care about our feelings!

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