House Speaker Nancy Pelosi blasted Facebook on Thursday as “accomplices for misleading the American people with money from God knows where,” adding to a chorus of prominent voices who think the company isn’t doing enough to root out falsehoods on its platform.
Asked at a press conference about the power of tech executives, including Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Pelosi said that their “business model is strictly to make money. They don’t care about the impact on children. They don’t care about truth. They don’t care about where this all is coming from. And they have said that even if it is not true they will print it.” She also called the company’s behavior “shameful.”
A Facebook spokesman did not immediately return a request for comment.
Pelosi mentioned that Facebook has an office in her San Francisco district, but their headquarters are in Menlo Park.
She has her own experience with the spread of misinformation on their site. Last year, a doctored video went viral that appeared to make Pelosi sound drunk. Facebook refused to take down the video but downgraded it in newsfeeds and included a link to a fact checking site that explained its misleading nature. Facebook recently announced a new policy to curb so-called “deep fake” videos, but it reportedly would not have meant that the Pelosi video would have been taken down.
More recently, Facebook has announced some changes to its policy for taking political ads, but it has refused to ban them altogether or turn down spots that contain falsehoods. Presidential candidates Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren and Amy Klobuchar criticized the company for refusing to impose greater restrictions on political ads, as Google and Twitter have done.
Pelosi told reporters that she thinks Facebook has been “very abusive about the great opportunity that technology has given them. All they want is their tax cuts and no antitrust action against them. They schmooze the administration in that regard, because so far that is what they have received.”
Facebook is facing antitrust investigations in the House and by the Justice Department, the Federal Trade Commission and state attorneys general.
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