Speaker Nancy Pelosi says Facebook should show “some sense of responsibility” for political misinformation that often spreads like wildfire online, bluntly saying she is “not a fan” of the big-tech firm based in her home state.
The Menlo Park, California-based social media giant has angered lawmakers from both parties, as well as Donald Trump and his administration, over what both call are moves to “censor” or allow political speech. Both parties have alleged their side had posts taken down, while the other side was allowed to spread false information that might have affected how people voted.
Senior company officials have faced tough questioning from members of both parties during marathon election-year congressional hearings, but so far, has faced no federal punishment.
“I’m not a big fan of Facebook,” she told reporters on Friday, calling the firm a “big part of the problem all along.”
Despite Facebook and other social media giants, in her view, allowing incorrect or misleading political speech, she noted the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) on Thursday called this the “most secure in American history.”
Still, Ms Pelosi called on Facebook to acknowledge “some sense of responsibility” for allowing misleading statements on its site.
Just what she wants Facebook executives to do was not clear during her weekly press conference, but the Democratic House leader did say the company’s leaders “were part of causing this problem in the first place.”
The speaker did not limit her scorn to Facebook, also criticizing media companies for what she described as an obsession with Mr Trump’s antics and brash words while in office.
He “could say anything and it’d be two days worth of news, whether it had any value or not,” she said after suggesting President-elect Joe Biden will use the so-called “bully pulpit” of the presidency differently than has Mr Trump, with his tweets and almost-daily pool sprays with reporters.
“My confidence and hope springs from the public,” Ms Pelosi said. “The American people … are so clear about meeting their needs.”
“Joe Biden knows why he’s there. He has a plan to be effective for America’s working families. He will have the stage,” the speaker said. “I hope that everybody will give Joe Biden a chance to get his message out there.”
When he does, expect Mr Trump, reportedly already mulling a 2024 run for the White House, to aggressively respond.
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