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Defiant Zuckerberg Says Farcebook Won’t Police Political Speech

edited October 2019 in Off-Topic
“Mr. Zuckerberg’s speech was prompted most recently by a sweeping policy that Facebook unveiled last month. In it, the company said it would not moderate politicians’ speech or fact-check their political ads because comments by political leaders, even if false, were newsworthy and in the public’s interest to hear and debate.” Huh?

“In a winding, 35-minute speech at Georgetown University’s Gaston Hall — where presidents and foreign heads of state have delivered addresses — Mr. Zuckerberg fought back against the idea that the social network needed to be an arbiter of speech. He said that Facebook had been founded to give people a voice and bring them together, and that critics who had assailed the company for doing so were setting a dangerous example.

To make his case, Mr. Zuckerberg invoked Frederick Douglass, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., the Vietnam War and the First Amendment. He contrasted Facebook’s position with that of China, where the authorities control and censor speech, and which he tried unsuccessfully for years to enter to turbocharge his company’s business.
“People having the power to express themselves at scale is a new kind of force in the world — a Fifth Estate alongside the other power structures of society,” Mr. Zuckerberg, 35, said.

He added that despite the messiness of free speech, “the long journey towards greater progress requires confronting ideas that challenge us.”

“I’m here today because I believe we must continue to stand for free expression,” he said.

The address was an unusually public doubling down by the tech billionaire on a free speech stance that has been highly criticized. It was a sign of how Mr. Zuckerberg was trying to reposition Facebook in a politicized environment where the company had been accused of amplifying disinformation, hate speech and violent content. Facebook is also under scrutiny for the power it wields over social media and is grappling with emboldened governments around the world that want to regulate it.“


  • @MFO Members: It's called the First Amendment Da !
  • edited October 2019
    Facebook is a privately owned media resource. Similar to MFO as such, it has absolutely no obligation to publish or promulgate any comments, information (or disinformation) from any source. It is completely free to publish anything that it desires, short of legally actionable slanderous or defamatory material.

    When it deliberately publishes material which is demonstrably false or misleading, from any source, it has nothing to do with the first amendment, and everything to do with making money, or fear of retribution (likely justified) from a source which would have absolutely no hesitation in illegitimately using the resources of the federal government to make life difficult for Facebook.

    Just more nonsense from the owl. Da.
  • That should be left up to George O's thought police to fix!!
  • There's the medium and there's the writer of the message.
    Trump tweeted that "someone can write an article or book, totally make up stories and form a picture of a person that is literally the exact opposite of the fact, and get away with it without retribution or cost."
    And he would like to clamp down on that.

    As politifact explains, he's wrong, plain and simple. Libel laws already provide recourse for speech, even political speech, that is knowingly false or made with reckless disregard for the truth. Times v Sullivan said that such libel laws don't violate the First Amendment. Da! Even the publisher (the medium) can be held accountable for such libel.

    But, Congress, in its infinite wisdom, decided that this high standard (knowingly false or reckless disregard) wasn't good enough for the internet. It passed Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act of 1996 granting media like Facebook virtually absolute immunity for anything published on their sites. Including, as it turned out, ads with child pornography.

    So to be clear: basic libel laws apply to the writer of false statements, even false political statements, even if they are published on the internet. The First Amendment provides no protection to writers of such knowingly false statements.

    Even publishers can be held liable, except for internet media companies. That is because of Section 230, not because of anything in the Constitution that says internet companies should be treated differently from traditional newspapers publishing ads, opinion letters, and such.

  • edited October 2019
    Ted said:

    @MFO Members: It's called the First Amendment Da ! Regards, Ted

    Wrong @Ted. Here’s the First Amendment :

    “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, or abridging the freedom of speech or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”

    Doesn’t address / mention the control a proprietor of any media source (newspaper, discussion board, radio station, theater, etc.) may choose to exercise over those using his forum. Zuckerberg has considerable latitude in whatever code of conduct he chooses to establish and have users abide by.

    BTW Ted - I find your ballyhoo here quite contrary to the gist of your previously linked article on Ken Fisher and his application (or misapplication) of “free speech”.

  • edited October 2019

    Just more of Ted's


    @hank- Your use of the term "ballyhoo" in this instance is certainly generous. Another word, also beginning with the letter "b", is much more appropriate.

  • Yuk Zuk strikes again. Why do people send him their money?

    No one would have blinked if he decided that Facebook would not publish outright lies, especially ones in a well funded political campaign
  • Every one needs to go through life doing their own due diligence and not believing what's conveyed through the media. Surprise!!! most of it is fake news. If you feel it's directed at you - sue the bastards!!
    Yesterday I watched a fake car race on the boob tube read fake interview in the national enquirer, listened to a fake Sunday morning news program. The only thing I did real was take a dump about as big as oJ's pix!! And I did all of this without Facefarce.
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