- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 8, 2019

White House hopeful Sen. Elizabeth Warren sought answers Monday about Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s recent Oval Office meeting in light of his platforms agreeing to run controversial advertisements purchased by President Trump’s re-election campaign.

“After that meeting, Facebook quietly changed its policies on ‘misinformation’ in ads, allowing politicians to run ads that have already been debunked by independent, non-partisan fact-checkers,” Ms. Warren, Massachusetts Democrat, said on Twitter. “Put another way, Facebook is now okay with running political ads with known lies.”

“We need accountability,” Ms. Warren said in a series of tweets. “That should start with Congress and the appropriate state authorities opening investigations and conducting hearings to make Facebook executives explain the company’s policies and practices—under oath.”

Ms. Warren has raised concerns about Facebook throughout her presidential campaign, which prominently includes a platform of breaking up “big tech,” while other Democrats have sounded alarms more recently over the company’s decision not to fact-check political ads placed on its platforms.

Nick Clegg, Facebook’s vice president, said late last month that the company does not submit speech by politicians to its independent fact-checkers, adding that: “we generally allow it on the platform even when it would otherwise breach our normal content rules.”

The Democratic National Committee subsequently complained about Facebook allowing Mr. Trump’s re-election campaign to place millions of dollars worth of ads on its platform containing misleading or blatantly false information about his political opponents. CNN has refused to air some of the same ads, and fellow Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke has referred to one of the spots as “propaganda.”

Mr. Zuckerberg met Mr. Trump at the White House less than two weeks before Mr. Clegg announced publicly that Facebook would not be fact-checking politicians’ speech.

“What did they talk about?” Ms. Warren asked on Twitter, noting that Mr. Trump’s re-election campaign has since started running “obviously untrue” ads on Facebook.

“Facebook already helped elect Donald Trump once because they were asleep at the wheel while Russia attacked our democracy—allowing fake, foreign accounts to run ad campaigns to influence our elections,” said Ms. Warren. “There’s no indication that Zuckerberg or Facebook executives have come to terms with the role their unpreparedness played in that successful attack, nor have they shown that they understand what needs to be done to prevent another attack in the 2020 election.”

Representatives for neither Facebook nor the White House immediately returned messages requesting comment.

The results of several recent national polls have placed Ms. Warren among the top front-runners seeking the Democratic presidential nomination in 2020.

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