Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg said that social media platforms should not be “arbiters of truth” in the wake of Twitter’s attempt to ‘fact-check’ President Donald Trump over comments he made about mail-in balloting leading to vote fraud.
In an interview previewed on Fox News’ “The Five” program Wednesday, co-host Dana Perino asks Zuckerberg about Twitter’s labeling of two presidential tweets as misinformation.
“Twitter decided for the first time ever to fact-check one of President Trump’s tweets… I wonder if you think Twitter may have made a wrong decision here,” Perino asked.
“We have a different policy than Twitter on this,” Zuckerberg said. “I just believe strongly that Facebook shouldn’t be the arbiter of truth of everything that people say online. I think in general, private companies probably shouldn’t be — especially these platform companies — shouldn’t be in the position of doing that.”
The full interview airs Thursday on “The Daily Briefing.”
Jack Dorsey, the founder of Twitter, responded to Zuckerberg’s interview claiming that his platform will continue to fact-check “disputed information about elections globally.”
“Fact check: there is someone ultimately accountable for our actions as a company, and that’s me. Please leave our employees out of this,” Dorsey wrote on his platform, likely a reference to Yoel Roth, Twitter’s head of Site Integrity, who was attacked for his blatant anti-Trump bias.
“We’ll continue to point out incorrect or disputed information about elections globally. And we will admit to and own any mistakes we make,” Dorsey wrote.
Fact check: there is someone ultimately accountable for our actions as a company, and that’s me. Please leave our employees out of this. We’ll continue to point out incorrect or disputed information about elections globally. And we will admit to and own any mistakes we make.
— jack (@jack) May 28, 2020
“This does not make us an ‘arbiter of truth.’ Our intention is to connect the dots of conflicting statements and show the information in dispute so people can judge for themselves. More transparency from us is critical so folks can clearly see the why behind our actions,” he added.
This does not make us an “arbiter of truth.” Our intention is to connect the dots of conflicting statements and show the information in dispute so people can judge for themselves. More transparency from us is critical so folks can clearly see the why behind our actions.
— jack (@jack) May 28, 2020
Twitter claimed to ‘fact-check’ a pair of Trump tweets in which the president criticizes mail-in balloting, which is being pushed by Democrats, as subject to fraud — even as cases have been discovered and prosecuted.
….living in the state, no matter who they are or how they got there, will get one. That will be followed up with professionals telling all of these people, many of whom have never even thought of voting before, how, and for whom, to vote. This will be a Rigged Election. No way!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 26, 2020
The fact-checking statement linked in the president’s tweets states that Trump made an “unsubstantiated claim that mail-in ballots will lead to voter fraud.” Worse, the statement cited CNN and the Washington Post as having allegedly debunked Trump’s claims — two media outlets that have consistently published untrue and uncorroborated information about the president and his administration.
As for Zuckerberg, his comments to Perino come after President Trump warned the social media behemoths that the federal government may “strongly regulate” or “close them down” if they continued to “silence conservative voices.”
Republicans feel that Social Media Platforms totally silence conservatives voices. We will strongly regulate, or close them down, before we can ever allow this to happen. We saw what they attempted to do, and failed, in 2016. We can’t let a more sophisticated version of that….
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 27, 2020
Several users reacted negatively to Dorsey’s claim that his platform will be used to point out misinformation, while also pointing out the hypocrisy of defending employees who clearly have a bias against the president and his supporters.
Jack, would Yoel Roth really be fit to work in the food court at Twitter, let alone as an executive being this mentally unstable? pic.twitter.com/5dXsmZTz7X
— Mark Dice (@MarkDice) May 28, 2020
How can we trust @Twitter to police politicians fairly and objectively when your own employees can’t be held to the same standards?
— Lisa Boothe (@LisaMarieBoothe) May 28, 2020
Nobody believes you. You have no integrity and your employees are just as biased if not more than you are. You are putting your thumb on the election and everyone knows it. Your “fact checking” will be one sided. Bet.
— Chris Manning (@Manning4USCong) May 28, 2020
Twitter has regularly faced backlash for its failure to address legitimately controversial content, including, obviously, from its own staffers. However, it does not appear that Zuckerberg is going down the same path.
Historically, that has been his company’s position. In 2017, Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg said that the tech giant had no intention “to be the publisher and we definitely don’t want to be the arbiter of truth,” Fox News reported.
“We don’t think that’s appropriate for us,” she added.
Jon is a staff writer for BizPac Review with 30 years’ worth of reporting experience, as well as an author and U.S. Army veteran. He has a BA in political science from Ashford University and an MA in national security studies/intelligence analysis from American Military University.