Socialists For Corporate Censorship

Why is AOC demanding Zuckerberg censor politics ads?

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One of the stranger aspects of the modern American left is its burning conviction that billionaire capitalists should censor social media. Just watch this exchange between alleged socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg in Washington, DC yesterday.

This was during a hearing of the US House of Representatives financial services committee, on the launch of Facebook’s cryptocurrency project, Libra. The NYC congresswoman repeatedly jabbed at Zuckerberg over his failure to ‘fact-check’ political ads. She also made a couple of cheap shots about Zuckerberg having ‘dinner parties with far-right figures’ (he is reported to have been meeting with conservative pundits over the issue of perceived left-wing bias in Facebook’s practices).

This all follows Democratic presidential hopeful Elizabeth Warren’s stunt, in which she posted a blatant lie in a political Facebook ad to make the point that the company is profiting from political misinformation. But beyond the anti-corporate posturing, what these supposedly left-wing politicians are essentially arguing for is an expansion of corporate power into the realm of politics – and ultimately for Facebook to become the Ministry of Truth.

This is a thoroughly terrible idea. Not least because, as a New York Times report found last year, Facebook moderators are overwhelmed by the task of enforcing the limits on political speech they already have in place – leading to many inconsistent and arbitrary decisions as they struggle to sift through the sheer volume of content. Is egging Facebook on to ‘do more’ really such a good idea?

We should all be concerned about the sway tech oligarchs have over our data, our politics and our public square. But the answer to all this – strange as it may sound – is not to give them even more power to police what can and cannot be said online.

Picture by: Getty.

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Comments

Jim Lawrie

25th October 2019 at 10:28 am

It reminded me of the Cathy Newman interview, except AOC has learned from that in the sense that she machine gunned Mr Zuckerberg with the next question before he had time to deconstruct the previous one. She depended on hand wringing, mock horror and general display, with her sidekick backing her up. Her intention was to use this as an arena, not to enquire, but for hurling political brickbats and barbs. A foretaste of the show trials to come.

At one point Mr Zuckerberg exacerbates that there was so many points in the question that he cannot remember them all. Neither could she, so she bouldered on. That looked like an instance of her becoming so carried carried away with herself that she departed from the script.

Mr Zuckerberg is going to have to learn to handle himself under that kind of attack.

Bear Mac Mathun

25th October 2019 at 7:18 am

I am not sure what else Facebook could do to appoint fact checkers than go through an independent third party. Either you accept the referee or find another one. AOC essentially wants the DNC to appoint fact checkers to ensure that they sing from the appropriate hymn book.

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