Unlikely Allies AOC, Matt Gaetz Agree That Facebook Needs to Be Stopped

Twitter saw a rare display of bipartisan harmony when Florida Republican Representative Matt Gaetz said he agreed with Democratic New York Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez that Facebook should be broken up.

The rare friendly exchange came in response to a recent interview the progressive Democrat gave to Yahoo Finance's Andy Serwer.

"Facebook should be broken up," said Ocasio-Cortez. "You should pursue antitrust activity on Facebook. And there are so many different reasons why. They are acting as an advertiser. They're acting as both platform and vendor. They are a communications platform, which has historically been a well-established domain of antitrust."

Gaetz retweeted the interview with the remark, "she's correct." He also tagged President Joe Biden in the post.

Newsweek has reached out to Gaetz and Facebook for comment.

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On Tuesday, U.S. Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Matt Gaetz, two members of Congress from opposite ends of the political spectrum, agreed that Facebook should be broken up. Above, the Meta logo is displayed on the screen of an iPhone in front of a Facebook logo on October 29, 2021, in Paris, France. Chesno/Getty Images

Facebook and other social media giants have drawn criticism in recent years for crowding out competitors, censoring political opinions and spreading misinformation.

The Federal Trade Commission has an ongoing lawsuit against Facebook alleging that the company has used a "buy-or-bury scheme to maintain its dominance." Facebook has sought to have the lawsuit dismissed.

Both the FTC and the U.S. Department of Justice announced last month they would update federal merger rules to "to better detect and prevent illegal, anticompetitive deals."

"Illegal mergers can inflict a host of harms, from higher prices and lower wages to diminished opportunity, reduced innovation and less resiliency," FTC chair Lina M. Khan said previously.

Congress has also taken note. The House Judiciary Committee voted over the summer to pass the bipartisan Ending Platform Monopolies Act that seeks to rein in consolidation by big tech companies. The Senate Judiciary is also considering the bipartisan Platform Competition and Opportunity Act, which would give the federal government more teeth to stop mergers it believes are anticompetitive.

However, neither bill has come up for a full vote in either chamber.

Ocasio-Cortez's recent remarks aren't the first time she's taken issue with Facebook. The company announced last fall it was rebranding to Meta, after it faced backlash over internal documents released by a whistleblower showing how it had allowed misinformation to spread.

"Meta as in 'we are a cancer to democracy metastasizing into a global surveillance and propaganda machine for boosting authoritarian regimes and destroying civil society ... for profit!'" Ocasio-Cortez reacted on Twitter.

Aligned with former President Donald Trump, Gaetz has spread far-right conspiracy theories that include downplaying the January 6 insurrection and accusing federal agents of being involved.

But he's also criticized Facebook and other social media platforms for what he says is their muffling of conservative points of view.

"Big Tech is censoring conservatives," he said during a 2020 Fox News interview in the run-up to the election. "They intend to steal this election from the voters and from Donald Trump and we should not let them."

Gaetz last year joined a group of other Republicans who signed on to a letter to the Facebook Oversight Board criticizing the panel's decision to ban Trump from the platform.

"Instances where conservatives viewpoints have been censored, blocked, diminished harm the free exchange of ideas and irreparably damage conservative Americans' faith in the fairness of purportedly neutral actors like Facebook," the letter said.