- Former Vice President Joe Biden slammed Facebook and CEO Mark Zuckerberg over misinformation on the platform and privacy concerns.
- “I’ve never been a big Zuckerberg fan. I think he’s a real problem,” Biden said in an interview with The New York Times editorial board published Friday.
- Biden called for the repeal of internet laws that shield Facebook and other platforms from being held accountable for the content of users’ posts.
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When asked about his thoughts on Facebook and its CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, former Vice President Joe Biden didn’t pull any punches.
“I’ve never been a fan of Facebook,” Biden told The New York Times editorial board in an interview published Friday. “I’ve never been a big Zuckerberg fan. I think he’s a real problem. … He knows better.”
Biden slammed Facebook for “propagating falsehoods they know to be false,” referencing the platform’s policy that allows politicians to make false statements in advertisements. Biden himself is the subject of a Facebook ad run by the Trump campaign that made the debunked claim that “Joe Biden promised Ukraine $1 billion dollars if they fired the prosecutor investigating his son’s company.”
Biden also called for the repeal of a foundational law of the internet that currently shields Facebook and other sites from being held liable for people’s posts. Biden was specifically referencing Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, a foundational part of the internet that protects social media platforms, forums, and even news sites with comment sections from facing legal recourse for unlawful posts made by users.
While Biden’s criticism of Facebook’s policy against fact-checking political ads aligns with other Democratic presidential candidates including Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, no other candidate has gone so far as to call for the repeal of Section 230.
A Facebook spokesperson declined to comment.
Facebook’s vice president of global policy management, Monika Bickert, directly addressed the importance of Section 230 to the platform during her congressional testimony last week. Bickert argued that Section 230 protects free speech and allows Facebook to formulate its own approach to removing hateful or abusive content that violates its guidelines.
“Section 230 does provide us certain protections,” Bickert said. “The most important, from my standpoint, is the ability for us to go after abuse on our platform, but separately it is also an important mechanism for people who use the Internet to be able to post to platforms like Facebook.”
While Zuckerberg has stood by Facebook’s policy against fact-checking political ads, he has repeatedly made broader calls for Congress to regulate Facebook and other social media companies. In a Washington Post op-ed published in March, Zuckerberg argued that clearer federal rules would take pressure off Facebook to self-regulate.
Read Biden’s full interview with The New York Times editorial board here.