This was all over Twitter last night: Rep. Alexandria Ocasia Cortez questioning Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg earlier yesterday in the House Financial Services Committee.
The hearing was meant to be about Libra, Facebook’s proposed cryptocurrency, but the questioning turned to Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica scandal.
AOC: “You don’t know. This was the largest data scandal with respect to your company that had catastrophic impacts on the 2016 election. You don’t know?”
AOC: “Can you explain why you’ve named the Daily Caller, a publication with well documented ties to white supremacists, as an official fact-checker for Facebook?”
Zuckerberg: “Congresswoman, sure. We actually don’t appoint the independent fact-checkers, they go through an independent organization called the ‘independent fact-checking network’ as a rigorous standard for who they allow to serve as a fact-checker.”
AOC: “So you would say that white-supremacist-tied publications meet a rigorous standard for fact-checking?”
Zuckerberg: [Stares. Blinks. Turns head. Gulps.]
Wikipedia has an article for Libra (cryptocurrency) but not for the “independent fact-checking network”.
Why this matters.
White supremacist organizations like the KKK and Proud Boys are being kicked off of fundraising platforms like PayPal, also off of crowdfunding groups like Patreon, Stripe, and MakerSupport.
Increasingly, hate groups and the criminal underground are turning to cryptocurrencies like bitcoin and Monero to hide their cash flows. It’s a huge thing.
Also, there is both a gender angle and a Russia angle. You may remember Andrew “Weev” Auernheimer who targeted blogger Kathy Sierra, and drove her off the internet, just because she was a woman, writing happy things on the internet about enjoying software. Weev is out of jail now, and said to be in the Ukraine providing tech support for the neo-Nazi website Daily Stormer. He still has a few disturbing ideas about women, as those people do. He is also said to be a cryptocurrency millionaire.
More comment from the Twitter thread:
Note the follow-up: when did board member Peter Thiel know? I have another one. When did board member Marc Andreessen know? …Why did he sell 73% of his Facebook shares in month before story broke?
And a huge amount of money has changed hands between Facebook and Russia.
According to the New York Times, Zuckerberg met with Medvedev in 2012 in Russia, to discuss the U.S. election.
…two of Facebook’s largest investors are Russian….Alisher Usmanov, a steel tycoon, and Yuri Milner, an expert on monetizing social network traffic in emerging markets. The two partly cashed out in the initial public offering of Facebook stock earlier this year but still own billions of dollars’ worth of shares….
Earlier this month, in another step deeper into the Russian market, Facebook made a deal with one of Russia’s mobile phone operators, Beeline, to provide a free application to subscribers.
In 2015/2016, Facebook and Cambridge Analytica shared an office, financed by Bannon, Mercer to analyze and manipulate FB users.
The Trump campaign spent $85 million on Facebook.