June 17, 2020

In years of covering him, I have never seen Joe Scarborough so furious -- and he certainly picked the right target. He went off on a righteous tear about how Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook are a threat to democracy, and I couldn't agree more. From extremist groups to anti-vaxxer and COVID-19 disinformation, from fake warnings of antifa invasions, Facebook has been the ideal tool for Russian, Chinese, and Iranian efforts to destabilize democracy.

And let's not forget that Facebook helpfully embedded employees with the Trump campaign. (Once again, I will refer readers to Christopher Wylie's "Mindf*ck," the story of how Cambridge Analytica and Facebook worked together to break America and put Trump in the White House. This went far beyond anything you imagine.)

He started out talking about how Facebook was spreading lies about Martin Gugino, the 75-year-old Buffalo protester who suffered a brain injury and now can't walk.

"And it's spread all over Mark Zuckerberg's site that he may be antifa, while we have other members of Congress saying that maybe they should gun down antifa. So you sit and you look at this segment where there is a right-wing extremist group that is literally targeting men and women who are dedicating their lives to protecting American citizens, and this movement, this extremist movement. And of course, they hatched their conspiracy theory by giving Mark Zuckerberg money, by going on Facebook.

"Now, you would say that's bad enough, right? But Mark Zuckerberg is promoting the extremism, because mark Zuckerberg is actually -- his site, the Zuckerberg site, has actually set up -- set up! Like, ad promotions that actually push people towards extremist sites that kill federal officers! And Mark Zuckerberg becomes a billionaire! How many times over? Because he's pushing people towards extremist sites that gun down and murder federal officials. Mark Zuckerberg's site, Sheryl Sandberg's site.

"They were warned in 2016 that foreign powers were going to use their site to interfere with American democracy, the American democracy that so many men and women have fought and died for to protect. They scaled the cliffs of Normandy to protect American democracy. They have fought across the world against Islamic terrorism to protect American democracy. They have been fighting for 240 years to protect American democracy. And when Sheryl Sandberg found out that Mark Zuckerberg's website was being used by foreign powers to interfere in the 2016 election, what did she do?

"She got angry at the Mark Zuckerberg employee that came to her and came to the board and warned them that American democracy was at risk. Mark Zuckerberg said he doesn't care that people use his site to lie. He doesn't care that they use their site. You know, Willie, this whole Section 230 facade that, you know, that we passed in Congress because we didn't want people on these websites to get in trouble for something that was said in a comments section -- it has so ballooned now that extremist groups and demagogic, authoritarian-type politicians here and across the world are now using these sites to promote hatred, to kill federal officers, and to undermine American democracy.

"Those people are becoming billionaires. And for Mark Zuckerberg to say he's sad because he's making billions of dollars off of lies being spread, off of hate groups germinating on Zuckerberg's website and Sandberg's website. It is so disingenuous. and if congress doesn't do something to make Mark Zuckerberg liable and to make Mark Zuckerberg's website liable for the hatred and the lies and the libel that is being spread on his website, then American democracy will remain at risk, because Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg have proven they are interested in one thing! more than truth, more than the protection of 75-year-old men who were brutalized in a march for black justice, more than the protection of american democracy. Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg are only interested in protecting their billions.

"And so, when you find that a federal officer is mowed down, is killed by a right-wing extremist group, and it is Mark Zuckerberg whose platform is promoting that group by pushing people to that group? Then his words are meaningless! He is lying to you. He is lying to himself. He is lying to the American people!

"And Congress and the next president of the United States need to stand up to the billions and billions of dollars in Silicon Valley and hold these people, hold these billionaires accountable for their lies and for their undermining of American democracy!"

Can you help us out?

For nearly 20 years we have been exposing Washington lies and untangling media deceit, but now Facebook is drowning us in an ocean of right wing lies. Please give a one-time or recurring donation, or buy a year's subscription for an ad-free experience. Thank you.


We welcome relevant, respectful comments. Any comments that are sexist or in any other way deemed hateful by our staff will be deleted and constitute grounds for a ban from posting on the site. Please refer to our Terms of Service for information on our posting policy.