The openly gay co-founder of Facebook, Chris Hughes, blasted his old friend and business partner Mark Zuckerberg for his refusal to fact check political ads by President Donald Trump and his comments attacking Democratic presidential contender Senator Elizabeth Warren.
Hughes said in a tweet: “I have a feeling that many people in tech will see Warren’s thread implying FB empowers Trump over Warren as unfair. But Mark, by deciding to allow outright lies in political ads to travel on Facebook, is embracing the philosophy behind Trumpism and thereby tipping the scales.”
I have a feeling that many people in tech will see Warren's thread implying FB empowers Trump over Warren as unfair. But Mark, by deciding to allow outright lies in political ads to travel on Facebook, is embracing the philosophy behind Trumpism and thereby tipping the scales. https://t.co/s0RVNuBEhJ
— Chris Hughes (@chrishughes) October 8, 2019
“There is a higher calling — to be a platform that won’t allow political lies to spread. Employees should demand that kind of policy. It isn’t partisan — it’s the right thing to do.”
There is a higher calling – to be a platform that won't allow political lies to spread. Employees should demand that kind of policy. It isn't partisan – it's the right thing to do.
— Chris Hughes (@chrishughes) October 8, 2019
Back in May, Hughes wrote an Op-Ed in the New York Times where he said that Facebook should be broken up and monitored by the U.S. government to address user privacy concerns.
It’s time, he writes, for regulators to break up Facebook ().“Mark is a good, kind person. But I’m angry that his focus on growth led him to sacrifice security and civility for clicks,” writes Hughes.“I’m disappointed in myself and the early Facebook team for not thinking more about how the News Feed algorithm could change our culture, influence elections and empower nationalist leaders,” he continues. “And I’m worried that Mark has surrounded himself with a team that reinforces his beliefs instead of challenging them.”
Warren trolled Zuckerberg by buying a fake ad that said Zuck is a Trump supporter before going on to say that it was deliberately misleading lie and that this was the kind of thing that Zuckerberg says he won’t oppose.
“What Zuckerberg ‘has’ done is given Donald Trump free rein to lie on his platform — and then to pay Facebook gobs of money to push out their lies to American voters,” Warren said in the ad.
Facebook’s decision to allow Trump’s ad contrasts with CNN, which rejected a request by the president’s campaign to run what the network called two “demonstrably false” claims.
“If Senator Warren wants to say things she knows to be untrue, we believe Facebook should not be in the position of censoring that speech,” Andy Stone, a spokesman for Facebook, said in a statement to CNN on the ads.
Earlier this month, recordings of Zuckerberg emerged, wherein he called the senator “an existential threat” to the company. According to CNBC, “Zuckerberg said that while his words were not meant to be widely shared, ‘now that it’s out there,” followers can see “an unfiltered version of what I’m thinking and telling employees on a bunch of topics.’”
The recordings open a window into Zuckerberg’s thinking on hypotheticals that he might not usually entertain publicly. In one of the July meetings, for example, Zuckerberg told employees that if Warren, D-Mass., becomes president, “then I would bet that we will have a legal challenge, and I would bet that we will win the legal challenge,” referring to Warren’s stated plan to break up Big Tech companiesincluding Facebook.
“But look, at the end of the day, if someone’s going to try to threaten something that existential, you go to the mat and you fight,” Zuckerberg said.
Warren responded to Zuckerberg’s comments in a tweet Tuesday morning, saying companies like Facebook engage in ‘anticompetitive practices.’
What would really “suck” is if we don’t fix a corrupt system that lets giant companies like Facebook engage in illegal anticompetitive practices, stomp on consumer privacy rights, and repeatedly fumble their responsibility to protect our democracy. https://t.co/rI0v55KKAi
— Elizabeth Warren (@ewarren) October 1, 2019
Zuckerberg also addressed employee questions on his decision-making in the recordings released by The Verge. He explained to employees why he has refused to testify in front of some foreign governments, saying “it just doesn’t really make sense for me to go to hearings in every single country that wants to have me show up.”