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Zuckerberg Defends Refusal to Censor Political Ads: ‘People Can See for Themselves what Politicians Are Saying’

Facebook Chairman and CEO Mark Zuckerberg testifies at a House Financial Services Committee hearing in Washington, U.S., October 23, 2019. (Erin Scott/Reuters)

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg stood by his decision to not censor political ads — even those potentially containing false statements — during a CBS This Morning interview he sat for Monday alongside his wife.

Zuckerberg’s comments come after public criticism and an internal company letter which decried the official policy. The Facebook CEO had previously defended his position during a speech at Georgetown and in comments to the Washington Post in October, saying “in a democracy, I think that people should be able to hear for themselves what politicians are saying.”

Zuckerberg maintained that line of reasoning during the interview.

“What I believe is that in a democracy, it’s really important that people can see for themselves what politicians are saying, so they can make their own judgments. And, you know, I don’t think that a private company should be censoring politicians or news,” Zuckerberg said. “ . . . I think that people should be able to judge for themselves the character of politicians.”

When pressed about the Facebook letter, which claimed Zuckerberg’s decision “allows politicians to weaponize our platform,” the Facebook CEO acknowledged the “different opinions” on the matter, but refused to change his stance.

“This is a clearly a very complex issue,” Zuckerberg said. “ . . . At the end of the day, I just think that in a democracy, people should be able to see for themselves what politicians are saying.”

Zuckerberg also defended a private dinner he held with President Trump during his October visit to Washington, which Senator Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.) called “corruption, plain and simple” on Twitter, saying the president did not try to pressure him into making any company decisions.

“I think some of the stuff that people talk about or think gets discussed and these discussions are not really how that works,” Zuckerberg said. “ . . . I also want to respect that it was a private dinner.”

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