Democrats and Media Criticize Facebook’s Zuckerberg for Embracing ‘Free Expression’

October 18th, 2019 12:23 PM

The left was not pleased with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s decision to promote the value of “free expression.”

After Zuckerberg gave a speech at Georgetown University, where he disavowed expanding the definition of hate speech and defended Facebook’s new policies for political ads, Democrats came after both him and the social media platform. Democratic candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden’s campaign manager, Greg Schultz, tweeted, “Facebook is purposely allowing our democracy to be eroded.”

Biden’s campaign deputy communications director Bill Russo told The Hill, “Facebook has chosen to sell Americans’ personal data to politicians looking to target them with disproven lies and conspiracy theories, crowding out the voices of working Americans.”

Democratic Party presidential primary candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) also chimed in, saying, “Mark Zuckerberg’s speech today shows how little he learned from 2016, and how unprepared Facebook is to handle the 2020 election.”

She continued, arguing that the buying and selling of ads to a specific person -- President Trump -- was the problem. “Here's the thing, Mark. Trump isn't just posting a lie on his own page for his own followers. Facebook is accepting millions of dollars from Trump to run political ads, including ones with misinformation and outright lies. Ads that TV stations won't even run.”

Warren then accused Facebook of “actively helping Trump spread lies and misinformation.” She followed up, saying, “Facebook already helped elect Donald Trump once. They might do it again -- and profit off of it.”

Guardian senior technology reporter Julia Carrie Wong criticized Zuckerberg for citing the civil rights movement as a reason for free expression. “It’s no secret that Zuckerberg’s inner circle of FB execs is *incredibly white*,” she said. “Meanwhile, his idea of meeting new people to learn from them lately has included ppl like Ben Shapiro and Tucker Carlson.”

Another columnist for the Guardian, Siva Vaidhyanathan, wrote a piece, “Mark Zuckerberg doesn’t understand free speech in the 21st century.” She referred to his speech as “unsophisticated” and “incoherent.”

Vaidhyanathan drew this image: “Imagine how insulting it must have been for hundreds of the brightest young minds in America, many of whom have considered deeply the history of American [c]onstitutional law and the ways it influences democracy, to sit politely and listen to billionaire who seems to have barely cracked a book on the subject and can’t seem to form a clear line of argument.”