News

Science & Tech

Aaron Sorkin Botches Key Details In NYT Op-Ed Scolding Zuckerberg for Free-Speech Policy

Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg enters the office of Senator Josh Hawley while meeting with lawmakers to discuss “future internet regulation” on Capitol Hill, September 19, 2019. (Joshua Roberts/Reuters)

Aaron Sorkin, screenwriter of the critical Mark Zuckerberg biography “The Social Network,” took aim at the Facebook CEO over free speech in a New York Times op-ed written Thursday, but made a number of factual errors which resulted in a correction from the paper.

Sorkin’s main issue stemmed from Zuckerberg’s speech earlier this month at Georgetown and comments made to the Washington Post, in which he defended Facebook’s policy of allowing political campaigns to run advertisements, even if they contain misleading or false information.

“People worry, and I worry deeply, too, about an erosion of truth,” Zuckerberg told the Post at the time. “At the same time, I don’t think people want to live in a world where you can only say things that tech companies decide are 100 percent true.” Earlier this week, it was revealed that Facebook employees were protesting the policy internally. 

“This can’t possibly be the outcome you and I want, to have crazy lies pumped into the water supply that corrupt the most important decisions we make together,” Sorkin wrote Thursday. “Lies that have a very real and incredibly dangerous effect on our elections and our lives and our children’s lives.”

But Sorkin’s editorial contained several inaccuracies, including misstating the release year of Sorkin’s own film. “The Social Network” was released in 2010, not 2011, as Sorkin originally wrote.

“Half of Americans say Facebook is their main source of news,” Sorkin also said, citing no evidence. Forty-four percent of Americans report having accessed news on Facebook, according to a Pew Research poll, but there is no evidence that half of Americans consider Facebook their primary source for news.

Sorkin also incorrectly stated that billionaire tech mogul Peter Thiel sued now-defunct news site Gawker for defamation, when Thiel sued Gawker for invasion of privacy.

In response to requests to amend the errors, the Times ultimately posted a lengthy correction accompanying Sorkin’s op-ed.

In response to Sorkin’s accusations, Zuckerberg posted a quote from Sorkin’s 1995 film “The American President” on Facebook.

"America isn't easy. America is advanced citizenship. You gotta want it bad, 'cause it's gonna put up a fight. It's…

Posted by Mark Zuckerberg on Thursday, October 31, 2019

Most Popular

White House

On the Bidens, Schiff Opened the Door

You opened the door. Trial lawyers live in fear of that phrase. When a trial starts, both sides know what the allegations are. Both have had enough discovery to know what the adversary will try to prove. Just as significantly, both know what their own vulnerabilities are. A litigator spends his pretrial ... Read More
White House

On the Bidens, Schiff Opened the Door

You opened the door. Trial lawyers live in fear of that phrase. When a trial starts, both sides know what the allegations are. Both have had enough discovery to know what the adversary will try to prove. Just as significantly, both know what their own vulnerabilities are. A litigator spends his pretrial ... Read More
World

Alarmists Were Wrong about the Soleimani Strike

Two weeks ago, the United States seemed on the brink of starting another war in the Middle East after a drone strike killed Iran’s most notorious spymaster, Qasem Soleimani, as he departed an international airport in Baghdad. The shadowy general, in charge of the Iranian equivalent of the CIA, was one of the ... Read More
World

Alarmists Were Wrong about the Soleimani Strike

Two weeks ago, the United States seemed on the brink of starting another war in the Middle East after a drone strike killed Iran’s most notorious spymaster, Qasem Soleimani, as he departed an international airport in Baghdad. The shadowy general, in charge of the Iranian equivalent of the CIA, was one of the ... Read More
Elections

Buttigieg’s Hollow Military Bragging

The term “veteran” wields a strange talismanic power in American politics today; the military is almost the only institution in American life that has maintained very high favorability ratings over the past 30 years. Invocation of the sacred words “military service” invariably grants a presumed license to ... Read More
Elections

Buttigieg’s Hollow Military Bragging

The term “veteran” wields a strange talismanic power in American politics today; the military is almost the only institution in American life that has maintained very high favorability ratings over the past 30 years. Invocation of the sacred words “military service” invariably grants a presumed license to ... Read More
Law & the Courts

Clarence Thomas Speaks

Those who know Justice Clarence Thomas say that any perception of him as dour or phlegmatic couldn't be more off-base. He's a charming, gracious, jovial man, full of bonhomie and easy with a laugh, or so I'm told by people who know him well. On summer breaks he likes to roam around the country in an RV and stay ... Read More
Law & the Courts

Clarence Thomas Speaks

Those who know Justice Clarence Thomas say that any perception of him as dour or phlegmatic couldn't be more off-base. He's a charming, gracious, jovial man, full of bonhomie and easy with a laugh, or so I'm told by people who know him well. On summer breaks he likes to roam around the country in an RV and stay ... Read More
White House

Impeachment Doesn’t Require a Crime

Senate Republicans, by and large, have reached an unspoken consensus about President Trump and Ukraine. He should not have put a temporary freeze on congressionally authorized aid to Ukraine, should not have dabbled with using the aid to get Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden or a nutty theory about Ukrainian ... Read More
White House

Impeachment Doesn’t Require a Crime

Senate Republicans, by and large, have reached an unspoken consensus about President Trump and Ukraine. He should not have put a temporary freeze on congressionally authorized aid to Ukraine, should not have dabbled with using the aid to get Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden or a nutty theory about Ukrainian ... Read More