The former presidential candidate tells The Atlantic that Facebook is unwilling to combat propaganda on its platform.
Hillary Clinton criticized Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and the social network on Saturday, saying he is unwilling to battle disinformation and propaganda on his own platform and calling his reasoning “authoritarian.”
“I feel like you’re negotiating with a foreign power sometimes,” the former Democratic presidential candidate told The Atlantic during an interview at the Sundance Film Festival. “He’s immensely powerful.
“This is a global company that has huge influence in ways that we’re only beginning to understand,” she said.
Clinton was at the film festival on Saturday for the unveiling of Hulu’s four-hour docuseries simply titled Hillary, which will premiere on that platform in March.
Since the 2016 US presidential election, Facebook has been trying to prove it’s doing what it must to combat misinformation on the site and thwart election meddling from Russia, Iran and other countries.
Clinton’s remarks highlight the social network’s controversial approach to political speech as it tries to strike a balance between free speech and combating misinformation during elections. Facebook doesn’t send speech from politicians to third-party fact-checkers and refused to ban political ads, arguing that this would favor incumbents and whomever the media chooses to cover.
“They have, in my view, contorted themselves into making arguments about freedom of speech and censorship,” Clinton said, “which they are hanging on to because it’s in their commercial interests.”
Clinton said she was taken by surprise by the power of lies and conspiracy theories that emerged from the internet during the 2016 election.
“We did not understand what was going on below the radar screen,” she said.
Clinton specifically referenced a viral video on Facebook of Rep. Nancy Pelosi that was doctored to make the House speaker appear to be drunk. Clinton said she contacted Facebook about removing the video after Google took it off YouTube.
“I said, ‘Why are you guys keeping this up? This is blatantly false. Your competitors have taken it down. And their response was, ‘We think our users can make up their own minds,'” Clinton told The Atlantic.
Clinton also said that Facebook is “not just going to reelect Trump, but intend[s] to reelect Trump.”