As part of your meditation and self-care routine this morning, consider watching this video of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez fully pummeling Mark Zuckerberg with her questions during a Capitol Hill hearing on Facebook yesterday. It is guaranteed to make your bones stronger, your hair shinier, to make you feel nourished and hydrated and centered for the rest of your day.
Zuckerberg and his puzzling bangs were there to testify about Libra, Facebook’s proprietary cryptocurrency, ostensibly to seek approval from Congress of its launch. But he was immediately subject to a range of questioning from representatives, many of whom have faced off with Zuckerberg before in past hearings on Facebook’s mismanagement.
True to form, AOC’s questioning had the former Hot or Not dot-com founder chugging water, repeating the word “congresswoman,” and looking utterly stupefied when asked about his own company’s fact-checking practices.
Ocasio-Cortez’s questions were sharp, and clearly designed to show how little accountability Zuckerberg has taken for his company’s questionable practices. When asked about when exactly he knew about last year’s Cambridge Analytica scandal, in which Facebook harvested personal data from millions of users without their consent and used it in political ads, Zuckerberg waffled — but AOC refused to let him off the hook. “This was the largest data scandal with respect to your company that had catastrophic impacts on the 2016 election. You don’t know?” she asked. Zuckerberg could only muster some vague gobbledegook in response. (“I’m sure we discussed it after we were aware of what happened.”)
Things only got worse for the embattled entrepreneur, as Ocasio-Cortez continued grilling him on Facebook’s basically nonexistent fact-checking process for political ads. She asked Zuckerberg whether his platform would allow ads that, say, target black people with false voter registration dates, or claims that Republicans voted in favor of the Green New Deal. Zuckerberg could not say whether such misinformation would be permitted, but he did manage to choke out, “Congresswoman, I think lying is bad.”
Her final blow was to directly call out Zuckerberg’s “ongoing dinner parties with far-right figures,” including Tucker Carlson. “I’ll move on,” she continued, after Zuckerberg literally began stuttering. “Can you explain why you named the Daily Caller, a publication with well-documented ties to white supremacists, as an official fact-checker for Facebook?” Zuckerberg passed the buck, saying that Facebook doesn’t set the standards for fact-checkers, but an “international fact-checking” network does.
If you’re about to have an especially stressful Thursday might I suggest you take one extra moment of zen to watch Representative Joyce Beatty also body-slam Zuckerberg during the hearing. It is a miracle this waxen man was able to walk out of the room after Beatty told him, “So maybe you just don’t read a lot of things”: