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Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s questioning of Mark Zuckerberg is vital in the age of fake news

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s questioning of Mark Zuckerberg is vital in the age of fake news

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s questioning of Mark Zuckerberg is vital in the age of fake news
November 07
12:03 2019

Mark Zuckerberg met with Congress recently to speak about Facebook and its policies on fact-checking political ads. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez kept asking Zuckerberg about the intentions and the boundaries that he and his company will allow, to mediocre responses from the media giant.

For starters AOC asked, “Could I run ads on Facebook targeting Republicans in primaries saying that they voted for the Green New Deal? If you’re not fact-checking political advertisements … I’m just trying to understand the bounds of what is fair game.”

Zuckerberg hastily replied with, “Congresswoman, I don’t know the answer to that off the top of my head.”

As one of the prime founders of Facebook, I feel like Zuckerberg should definitely know more about his own company. I understand that there are many working parts into owning a multi-billion dollar company, but he should have at least better prepared himself for the possibility of any and all topics that could potentially have been discussed. 

AOC also asked Zuckerberg, if she could “pay to target predominantly black zipcodes and advertise them the incorrect election date,” and he responded with a shaky “No” because “That is calling for violence, or could risk imminent physical harm, or voter or census suppression,” which seemed like the only acceptable, knowledgable answer that he gave.

The major issue at hand is the fact that politicians can run lies in their own ads through Facebook just by adding zeros to a check. At a very fast rate, that content gets spread throughout Facebook and other social media sites, which could be detrimental to elections and voter’s knowledge. 

Later in the meeting Zuckerberg, had this to say about lies in political ads: “…In most cases, in a democracy, I believe people should be able to see for themselves what politicians they may or may not vote for are saying and judge their character for themselves.”

To a certain extent I do agree with Zuckerberg because when you deal with the First Amendment, it gives the inherent right to free speech. The problem with social media and news traveling as quickly as it does, is the fact that it seems no one wants to fact-check anything anymore. They would rather believe what they see or hear at face-value rather than doing research for themselves thus being the reason why the majority of people deem the media as “fake news.”

No, it is not that the media is inherently fake, but rather, it is the fact that people are simply too lazy to conduct research on their own through legitimate credible sources, only to then want to blame the news when they hear or see otherwise.

However, I do believe that corporations such as Facebook should hold a higher standard of what can be published in a political ad and should most definitely have a much more rigorous fact-checking program to eliminate ads that suspiciously seem like propaganda, and AOC valiantly demonstrated that with pressure and proper questioning, there is room to make lousy, uninformed moguls crack.

The end goal and main purpose of a political ad is to reach as many people as possible in hopes of getting them to agree with what is being advertised. I know it is rare for politicians to have integrity, but businesses like Facebook should start implementing it in order to make sure a fairer political race is in play, rather than relying on fake, unconstitutional ads to push a certain narrative.

Featured Illustration: Kylie Phillips

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Megan Hernandez

Megan Hernandez

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