Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez questioned the Facebook founder during a congressional hearing on Wednesday, and she wasn’t leaving until she got some answers.
It’s not very often we see Twitter whipped into a frenzy over a congressional hearing, but then again, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez tends to have that effect.
On Wednesday, members of congress grilled Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg over the Cambridge Analytica scandal and Facebook’s reluctance to police political advertising. While the hearing was intended to be about Libra, Facebook’s cryptocurrency project, it swiftly escalated into everything from data privacy and hate speech to fake political ads.
But it was Ocasio-Cortez who stole the show, as per, transforming what could have been just another congressional hearing into an electrifying Twitter-worthy debate.
She had questions: Was Facebook allowing politicians to lie in their ads? Was it fact-checking political ads? Well then, why not? And, she wasn’t leaving until she got some answers.
“Would I be able to run advertisements on Facebook targeting Republicans in primaries saying that they voted for the Green New Deal? I mean, if you’re not fact-checking political advertisements, I’m trying to understand the bounds here, what’s fair game,” she asked. To which a stumped-looking Zuckerberg replied: “Congresswoman, I don’t know the answer to that off the top of my head, I think probably.”
She then asked: “Do you see a potential problem here with a complete lack of fact-checking on political advertisements?” He responded, “Well, Congresswoman, I think lying is bad, and I think if you were to run an ad that had a lie in it, that would be bad. That’s different from it being…in our position, the right thing to do to prevent your constituents or people in an election from seeing that you had lied.”
When questioned over whether Facebook was taking steps to remove political ads with blatant lies in them, Zuckerberg said: “In most cases, in a democracy, I believe that people should be able to see for themselves what politicians that they may or may not vote for are saying and judge their character for themselves.”
The confrontation didn’t got unnoticed, as people took to Twitter to praise AOC’s forthright questioning: a blur of Succession memes and fire emojis.
However, perhaps the finest moment came at the very end, when Zuckerberg denied any knowledge about what was going on with Cambridge Analytica during the 2016 election.
AOC responded: “You don’t know? This was the largest data scandal with respect to your company, that had catastrophic impacts on the 2016 election. You don’t know?”