December 2, 2019
Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg says the social network should not be 'censoring politicians'
Facebook CEO and co-founder Mark Zuckerberg on Monday reiterated his refusal to take down political advertisements on the social network even if the ads contain false information.
Zuckerberg and wife Priscilla Chan appeared on "CBS This Morning" in an interview with Gayle King at the offices of The Chan-Zuckerberg Initiative.
Facebook is facing backlash for not joining Twitter, which last month stopped accepting political ads. But Zuckerberg has argued that to ban ads on Facebook is an infringement on free speech.
"What I believe is that in a democracy it's really important that people can see for themselves what politicians are saying, so they can make their open judgments," he said. "I don't think that a private company should be censoring politicians or news."
Several hundred Facebook employees noted their disagreement in a letter to Zuckerberg, in which they ask him to reconsider.
"This is clearly a very complex issue, and a lot of people have a lot of different opinions," Zuckerberg said. "At the end of the day, I just think that in a democracy that people should be able to see for themselves what politicians are saying. ... I think that people should be able to judge for themselves the character of politicians."
King also asked Zuckerberg about his dinner with President Donald Trump at the White House three weeks ago and whether Trump lobbied him against banning political ads. " No ... I think some of the stuff that people talk about or think is discussed in these discussions are not really how that works," Zuckerberg said. "I also want to respect that it was also a private discussion."
Facebook, along with other tech giants Amazon, Apple and Google, face antitrust investigations from the Justice Department. The social network in July paid a $5 billion fine as part of its settlement with the Federal Trade Commission over violations of users' privacy rights. And a multi-state investigation by state attorneys general also is focusing on Facebook for anti-competitive business practices.
"There is no question there is real issues that we need to keep on working on," he said, adding, "I think its important not to lose track of just the enormous good that can be done by bringing people together and building community."
Chan added that "when Mark and I talk about these issues together I also have the lens of being an educator and a pediatrician that's worked deeply with families and individuals in all types of communities, and when I zoom out I also see that these are societal problems. These are not problems that one person, one company can fix on their own. ... We need to work together as a society for that steady progress."
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