Mark Zuckerberg For Minister of Truth?

Donald Trump has run an a negative ad on Joe Biden and many people have said the ad is full of discredited information. In other news, the Pope is Catholic. No, this is not a shot at Trump, for politicians have been lying about each other as long for as there have been politicians and for those who those who hold out visions for the golden age of civility and facts, just go read about what the Founders said about each other. So, why is this news? Because, Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg refuse to take the ad down from their website and because Trump is a unique kind of liar, or something.

Elizabeth Warren led this latest exercise in outrage, saying that by allowing the ad to air on Facebook, Facebook was enabling fake news. Warren, who has made dismembering big tech companies a central part of her campaign, tweeted on October 12:

Facebook changed their ads policy to allow politicians to run ads with known lies — explicitly turning the platform into a disinformation-for-profit machine. This week, we decided to see just how far it goes.

In her text tweet she posted a screenshot of a Facebook post that said Zuckerberg endorsed Trump for president, before saying it was, of course, not true, but it illustrates the problem of fake news on the internet.

Fast forward to October 17 and Zuckerberg gave his response to the Washington Post before a big speech:

People worry, and I worry deeply, too, about an erosion of truth. At the same time, I don’t think people want to live in a world where you can only say things that tech companies decide are 100 percent true. And I think that those tensions are something we have to live with.

A common sense answer if ever there was one. What exactly is alternative to this?

Facebook is not like the Washington Post. They have reporters, editors, and opinion writers who can attempt to debunk Trump’s ad and if someone wants the other perspective, they can go to another site and seek it out. Facebook is a platform that, among many other things, allows people to talk about politics, but it is not a news organization in any meaningful sense of the term. So, what exactly does Warren want?

Does she want Mark Zuckerberg to appoint himself as the arbiter of truth, deciding which political ads are full of lies and which are merely stretching the truth, misrepresenting the facts, or ate your typical attack ads?

Does she want to appoint herself in that role as president? Delegate it to a board of apparatchiks at the Ministry of Truth? Hey Zuck, only run ads President Warren approves or else. That does not seem like such a great idea, especially considering Democrats won’t be in power forever and have the tendency to attack their opponents personally, describing them as racists, sexists, ect.

So, question for Elizabeth Warren and others: what is the limiting principle here? Or is this just an excuse to break up the big tech companies, which you already wanted to do anyway?

Truth is objective, but human ability to discern it is not always absolute. The way we come to a conclusion that something is true is through evidence and debate, not through someone, whether that be Zuckerberg, Warren, or any other hack at the Ministry of Truth declaring it to be so.

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Writing about politics and other interesting things. Contributing Writer to NewsBusters. Member of YAF’s National Journalism Center’s Spring 2019 class.

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Alex Christy

Alex Christy

Writing about politics and other interesting things. Contributing Writer to NewsBusters. Member of YAF’s National Journalism Center’s Spring 2019 class.

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