Tech

Pelosi slams Facebook's 'shameful' behavior and says execs 'schmooze' the Trump administration

Key Points
  • During her weekly press briefing, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, whose district includes tech-heavy San Francisco, accused Facebook of being motivated only by profits.
  • "All they want are their tax cuts and no antitrust action against them," Pelosi said. "And they schmooze this administration in that regard because so far that's what they have received."
  • Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has recently taken a more engaged approach with D.C. officials, visiting Capitol Hill to meet with lawmakers and President Donald Trump as the company faces multiple antitrust probes.
US Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, Democrat of California, speaks during her weekly press briefing on Capitol Hill, January 16, 2020, in Washington, DC.
Olivier Douliery | AFP | Getty Images

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., slammed Facebook during her weekly press briefing Thursday, accusing the company of only caring about profits and saying executives "schmooze" the Trump administration to avoid taxes and antitrust action.

"The Facebook 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 is all coming from, and they have said, even if they know it's not true, they will print it," Pelosi said in what appeared to be a reference to the company's policy not to remove or fact-check political ads. "I think they have been very abusive of the great opportunity that technology has given them."

Pelosi, whose constituency includes the tech-heavy district of San Francisco, said Facebook's behavior has been "shameful."

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"All they want are their tax cuts and no antitrust action against them," Pelosi said. "And they schmooze this administration in that regard because so far that's what they have received. But I think that what they have said very blatantly, very clearly, that they intend to be accomplices for misleading the American people with money from God knows where, they didn't even check on the money from Russia in the last election, they never even thought they should. So they have been very irresponsible."

Facebook did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has recently taken a more engaged approach with D.C. officials, returning to Capitol Hill for the first time since his grilling over the Cambridge Analytica scandal in September for closed-door meetings with lawmakers and President Donald Trump. The meetings came as Facebook faces multiple antitrust probes from federal and state investigators.

After learning about ways its platform was used by foreign actors to target American voters in the 2016 presidential election, Facebook made changes, cracking down on "coordinated inauthentic behavior" and introducing more disclosure requirements for political advertisers. But academics and politicians still fear the platform will be vulnerable to similar tactics in the lead-up to the 2020 election and that misinformation can still run rampant.

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