Mark Zuckerberg, CEO and controlling shareholder of his Facebook, testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee Tuesday. He said that
his company often must decide between “difficult trade-offs” when it comes to content moderation, and that he believes “some of these trade-offs would be better made through a democratic process.”
Two things on that. One is his stuff about trade-offs via a democratic process. What democratic process he posited is unclear. Would it be one where all of his employees would do the voting? One where all of his censors fact checkers/fact checker overseers would do the voting? There’d plainly be nothing democratic about that since his employees, including his checkers, are overwhelmingly far left, and the press outlets he sometimes uses are nearly as far left.
The larger thing, though, is Zuckerberg’s claimed difficult trade-offs while moderating content. This is Zuckerberg’s cynically offered false premise: there’s no need to moderate content on his facility. Not if he wants to continue as a pipeline rather than a publisher.
For instance, Zuckerberg also testified in that hearing that he has Facebook vetting political ads for “essential accuracy.” This is censoring of political speech, and it’s deeply insulting both to the political candidates involved and to the American voters viewing the ads. The opponent being targeted by a political ad is fully capable of responding for himself, and in his own way, to an ad. He does not need, not by a long shot, Zuckerberg or any of his minions to speak for him. It’s the same for American viewers of political ads. We do not need the Zuckerbergs of the world to speak for us. Nor are we so grindingly stupid—as he so clearly assumes we are—that we cannot evaluate for ourselves, and in our own ways, the ads that we see.
Clearly, though, Zuckerberg has every intention of continuing to censor speech, however he tries to obfuscate his intent.