CBS’s King Hijacks Corona Conversation: Tells Facebook to Be Political Censors!

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Even when journalists are supposedly focusing on the growing Coronavirus health crisis, the 2020 campaign is never far from their mind. Case in point on Wednesday, CBS This Morning co-host Gayle King hijacked a discussion on COVID-19 to talk about censoring political speech. Such was the case when King scored an exclusive interview with Facebook’s Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg.

After Sandberg explained what the company is doing to keep fake COVID-19 information off the site, King jumped in with this unrelated point: “But, you know, Sheryl, I think it opens it up to the question of you want to make sure the information is accurate about coronavirus, but people say when it comes to politics, Facebook sometimes knowingly leaves ads up that they know are not true. Why not do that when it comes to the campaign ads, as well?”

 

 

Sandberg tried to steer the conversation back to the virus, but the CBS host wouldn’t be deterred: “But will you do the same going forward about --- when it comes to politics, campaign 2020, removing false ads? Or has the policy not changed on that?”

Sandberg shot back: “When it comes to generalized political speech… we think that as one company being the arbiter of truth is too much power and something that kind of sounds like we should do it. But as soon as we started doing it, people would be, like, 'Oh, my God. Facebook is deciding what’s true and what’s false.'”

Journalists always want to remove fake ads and false information in campaigns. They don’t seem to be as vigilant when it comes to colleagues like fake news-spreaders Brian Williams or Dan Rather.

On October 18, 2019, This Morning co-host Anthony Mason attacked Facebook for having not regulating political speech: “I don’t know how you can be happy, as someone – a proprietor of a company – that your company is essentially spreading misinformation.”

On October 31, 2019, CBS correspondent Errol Barnett painted Twitter’s decision --- the opposite of Facebook’s --- as heroic: “In response to growing backlash about hosting political ads, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey took an all-encompassing stand against them.”

A partial transcript of the segment is below. Click “expand” to read more.

CBS This Morning
03/18/2020
8:18 a.m. Eastern

SHERYL SANDBERG: Well, we're definitely always vigilant. But in this area, we've gone one step further, and we're removing things quickly if they're harmful. I also think there's a lot of information people need. They need information about local school closing. They need information with local health organizations.

GAYLE KING: But, you know, Sheryl, I think it opens it up to the question of you want to make sure the information is accurate about coronavirus, but people say when it comes to politics, Facebook sometimes knowingly leaves ads up that they know are not true. Why not do that when it comes to the campaign ads, as well?

SANDBERG: Well, I want to be really clear. For this crisis, any fake information is down. It is down no matter who the source is. It can be a politician, it can be anyone. If it's harmful and fake, it's down.

KING: But will you do the same going forward about --- when it comes to politics, campaign 2020, removing false ads? Or has the policy not changed on that?

SANDBERG: Well, what we've really done is made sure that anything that's harmful can't be put on the site, in terms of regular content or groups or ads. When it comes to generalized political speech, whether that's in ads or -- we think that as one company being the arbiter of truth is too much power and something that kind of sounds like we should do it, but as soon as we started doing it, people would be, like, “Oh, my God. Facebook is deciding what’s true and what’s false.”

NB Daily Campaigns & Elections 2020 Presidential Facebook Video Gayle King Sheryl Sandberg
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