A 2019 Clip of AOC Grilling Mark Zuckerberg About Right-Wing Sources Has Now Gone Viral

An October 2019 clip of congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez grilling Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg about right-wing news outlets being classified as reputable fact checkers has gone viral on TikTok.

The video was shared as a recent prompt, encouraging users to stitch a video with their "all-time favorite moment in politics, no matter the party or the country." The video, posted by a user with the handle @Calebzoo, has received 1.3 million views within 13 hours of being posted, and over 376,000 likes. In the video's caption, the user expresses a desire for the congresswoman to run for president.

In the video, the New York representative is speaking to Zuckerberg as part of the House Financial Service Committee's hearings on Libra, a proposed cryptocurrency from Facebook. Ocasio-Cortez questions him about the Cambridge Analytica scandal, in which many Facebook users' data was obtained by the consulting firm of the same name and used mostly for political ads. In the viral clip, the congresswoman is questioning Zuckerberg about how articles are fact-checked on the social media platform.

@calebzoo

#stitch with @ronaldreagan_offical AOC needs to run for President! #NHLFaceOff #HealthyCooking #foryoupage #fyp

♬ original sound - Caleb Johnson

In the short video, Ocasio-Cortez grills Zuckerberg about why conservative outlet the Daily Caller had been considered an official fact-checker. The partnership with the Daily Caller's "Check Your Fact" program had been reported by Vox in May 2019. Vox noted the news site's ties to white supremacists, and the Southern Poverty Law Center also noted a "white nationalist problem" on the Daily Caller in August 2017.

"Can you explain why you've named the Daily Caller—a publication, well-documented with ties to white supremacists—as an official fact-checker for Facebook?" Ocasio-Cortez asks.

"Congresswoman, sure. We actually don't appoint the independent fact-checkers. They go through an independent organization, called the Independent Fact-Checking Network that has a rigorous standard for who they allow to serve as a fact-checker," Zuckerberg responds. It appears that Zuckerberg said the wrong name. Facebook's business help center indicates that the International Fact-Checking Network checks content on Facebook for accuracy.

"So, you would say that white supremacist-tied publications meet a rigorous standard for fact-checking?" the video then shows Zuckerberg, seeming to look in a different direction to find his words. "Thank you."

The clip on TikTok cuts off before Zuckerberg's response, but he pushed blame away from Facebook. "Congresswoman, I would say that we're not the one assessing that standard. The International Fact-Checking Network is the one who is setting that standard," he responded.

At the time, Ocasio-Cortez brought up the question at the hearings for Libra to "dig into [Zuckerberg's] past behavior and Facebook's past behavior with respect to our democracy" in order to help inform decisions about Libra.

After a series of questions about Cambridge Analytica, Ocasio-Cortez then asks Zuckerberg about politicians being able to push ads with misinformation. "You announced recently that the official policy of Facebook now allows politicians to pay to spread disinformation in 2020 elections, and in the future. So, I just wanna know how far I can push this in the next year," she says before asking if she could target primarily Black ZIP codes and advertise an incorrect Election Day.

Zuckerberg responds by telling her that she couldn't. "If anyone, including a politician, is saying things that can cause—that is calling for violence or could risk imminent physical harm or voter or census suppression—when we role out the census suppression policy, we will take that down," he responds.

The congresswoman then asks, more vaguely, if she could target Republicans and tell them that they'd voted for the Green New Deal. The Facebook CEO responded that he didn't know, but "probably." Ocasio-Cortez then asked if Zuckerberg saw an issue with the lack of fact-checking.

"I think lying is bad, and I think if you were to run an ad that had a lie, that would be bad," he says. "That's different from it being-in our position-the right thing to do to prevent your constituents from seeing that you had lied."

Ocasio-Cortez then asks if Facebook would take down lies. "In a democracy, I believe that people should be able to see for themselves what politicians that they may or may not vote for are saying and judge their character for themselves," he says.

The New York representative then suggests that Facebook would flag the content but not delete it. Zuckerberg responds that "It depends on the context."

Ocasio-Cortez then asks if Zuckerberg had discussed if there was a bias against conservatives on social media during "dinner parties with far-right figures." Zuckerberg says he hadn't heard every part of the question, then the congresswoman moved onto the Daily Caller question.

Ocasio-Cortez remained critical of Facebook, well after the hearing. In May 2020, she tweeted that the platform "relie[d] on white supremacists and disinformation peddlers to be successful." Facebook has seemingly taken steps toward combating misinformation. In December 2020, the site announced that it would remove misinformation about COVID-19 vaccines. As for Libra, it's expected to hit the market soon. According to The Financial Times, it may launch as soon as this month.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Facebook Hearings Viral
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York smiles as Facebook Chairman and CEO Mark Zuckerberg testifies before the House Financial Services Committee in the Rayburn House Office Building in Washington, D.C. on October 23, 2019. A video of Ocasio-Cortez and Zuckeberg was shared as a recent prompt, encouraging users to stitch a video with their "all-time favorite moment in politics, no matter the party or the country." Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty