Pelosi Says Zuckerberg 'Panders to White House' After Facebook CEO Sides With Trump Over Twitter Fact-Checking

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi shared her thoughts on President Donald Trump's clash with social media on Thursday, commenting on his anticipated executive order and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg's recent response to the dispute.

Referencing Zuckerberg's new Fox News interview, in which he criticized Twitter's decision to fact-check Trump's tweets about mail-in voting, Pelosi said top social networking corporations "pander to the White House" in efforts to secure tax breaks and avoid oversight.

"They don't want to be regulated, so they pander to the White House. You see what Facebook's Zuckerberg is saying today about all of this," Pelosi told reporters during her latest news briefing, which primarily discussed the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Regarding Trump's upcoming executive order related to social media, most details of which are still unclear, she added: "What the president is doing is silly. It's silly. But let's say this: it's a distraction."

Trump is expected to issue the executive order on Thursday. Though he has declined requests to elaborate on the order outright, he seemed to reference it in a tweet Thursday morning. "This will be a Big Day for Social Media and FAIRNESS!" he wrote.

This will be a Big Day for Social Media and FAIRNESS!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 28, 2020

The Washington Post, which acquired a drafted copy of the executive order on Wednesday, said the directive would allow agencies like the Federal Communications Commission to hold social media platforms accountable for the content users share online. If effected, the order could lead to heightened government control over social platforms like Facebook and Twitter. In addition, The Washington Post warned it could have wider impacts on free speech for other companies doing businesses via the Internet.

News of the executive order followed several days of rising conflict between Trump and Twitter, after the company flagged his tweets that said vote-by-mail procedures would lead to fraud with a message encouraging users to "get the facts about mail-in ballots." The message, which now appears as highlighted text attached to Trump's tweets, leads to a page of cataloged news articles that explain why his remarks that connected vote-by-mail procedures to fraud are unsubstantiated.

The page also includes a statement from Twitter articulating its rationale for the fact check.

"We added a label to two @realDonaldTrump Tweets about California's vote-by-mail plans as part of our efforts to enforce our civic integrity policy," the statement read, referring to California Governor Gavin Newsom's move to issue mail-in ballots to the state's registered voters ahead of November's general election. "We believe those Tweets could confuse voters about what they need to do to receive a ballot and participate in the election process," it continued.

....Twitter is completely stifling FREE SPEECH, and I, as President, will not allow it to happen!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 26, 2020

Trump has expressed upset over the fact-checking endeavor in numerous tweets posted over the last two days. "Twitter is completely stifling FREE SPEECH, and I, as President, will not allow it to happen!" the president wrote on Tuesday, later broadening his accusations to include other social media platforms, which he said "totally silence conservative voices." Around the same time, the U.S. Court of Appeals issued a judgement dismissing claims included in a lawsuit against Twitter, Facebook, Google and Apple, which said they unlawfully surpassed conservative voices.

"We will strongly regulate, or close them down, before we can ever allow this to happen," Trump tweeted on Wednesday, insisting his position regarding mail-in votes and fraud was correct. He reiterated those statements in another tweet Thursday afternoon.

Newsweek reached out to Pelosi's office, the White House and Facebook for further comments but did not receive replies by time of publication.

Nancy Pelosi
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi discusses "The Heroes Act" on May 27. During a news conference on Thursday, Pelosi commented on Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg's criticisms of Twitter in relation to the social platform's ongoing conflict with President Donald Trump. Drew Angerer/Getty