'Social Network' Writer Aaron Sorkin Rips Facebook for 'Assaulting Truth'

Facebook is allowing “lies that have a very real and incredibly dangerous effect on our elections and our lives and our children’s lives,” Sorkin says in New York Times op-ed

“The Social Network” writer Aaron Sorkin is taking on Facebook once again, criticizing the company and its chief executive Mark Zuckerberg on Thursday for allowing political ads to run without being fact-checked.

Sorkin, in a New York Times op-ed, acknowledged a recent speech Zuckerberg gave at Georgetown University, where the CEO defended Facebook’s decision by saying it was based on American free speech principles. Sorkin said he admired Zuckerberg’s “deep belief” in free speech — but that shouldn’t extend to letting political ads run with lies in them, he argued.

“This can’t possibly be the outcome you and I want, to have crazy lies pumped into the water supply that corrupt the most important decisions we make together,” Sorkin said. “Lies that have a very real and incredibly dangerous effect on our elections and our lives and our children’s lives.”

Sorkin later said he was able to find a political ad erroneously claiming Joe Biden gave Ukraine’s attorney general $1 billion not to investigate his son, Hunter Biden.

“Every square inch of that is a lie and it’s under your logo. That’s not defending free speech, Mark, that’s assaulting truth,” Sorkin said.

“You and I want speech protections to make sure no one gets imprisoned or killed for saying or writing something unpopular, not to ensure that lies have unfettered access to the American electorate.”

Facebook did not immediately respond to TheWrap’s request for comment.

The scathing piece comes after weeks of criticism from many left-leaning pundits, who have called on Facebook to take a more hands-on approach to policing its political ads. Zuckerberg, meanwhile, has reiterated multiple times he would rather have Facebook’s users determine whether an ad contains a lie, rather than the company itself.

“As a principle,” Zuckerberg said during his speech at Georgetown University, “in a democracy, I believe people should decide what is credible, not tech companies.”

That stance has been ridiculed by Facebook’s critics in the past month, including by 2020 presidential hopeful Elizabeth Warren, who has vocally disagreed with Zuckerberg’s approach. On Wednesday, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey added to the growing pressure on Facebook when he tweeted his company would abandon all political ads on Nov. 22.

In his Times piece, Sorkin recounted screening “The Social Network” for Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg before it hit theaters. Sandberg, according to Sorkin, asked: “How can you do this to a kid?”

Now, Sorkin added, “I hope your COO walks into your office, leans in (as she suggested we do in her best selling book), and says, ‘How can we do this to tens of millions of kids?’Are we really going to run an ad that claims Kamala Harris ran dog fights out of the basement of a pizza place while Elizabeth Warren destroyed evidence that climate change is a hoax and the deep state sold meth to Rashida Tlaib and Colin Kaepernick?”

Facebook’s stock, after strong Q3 earnings on Wednesday, is up 2.7% in early-trading on Thursday.

10 Most Shocking Russian Troll Posts on Facebook and Instagram, From Hillary Clinton to Police Brutality (Photos)

  • The U.S. House Intelligence Committee on Thursday released more than 3,500 advertisements and posts spread by Russian trolls before and after the 2016 U.S. election. Below is a look at 10 of the most shocking examples that stood out from Congress’s reveal.

    House Intelligence Committee

  • Many posts pushed the narrative that Hillary Clinton would confiscate guns if she were elected President.

    House Intelligence Committee

  • This graphic meme painted cops as KKK members attacking a young black child. 

    House Intelligence Committee

  • Only “sissies” and other undesirables wouldn’t support Donald Trump, many of the memes said. 

    House Intelligence Committee

  • President Obama was a “pawn” and “traitor” in the hands of “Arabian Sheikhs,” said one 2016 ad. 

    House Intelligence Committee

  • The “Black Matters US” page touched on hot button issues like police shootings. 

    House Intelligence Committee

  • The “Army of Jesus” page shared a bible verse, along with this meme. 

    House Intelligence Committee

  • Russian trolls also used Instagram to spread sponsored political memes.

    House Intelligence Committee

  • The “Blacktivist” page routinely shared memes on Colin Kaepernick and other football players kneeling during the national anthem. 

    House Intelligence Committee

  • “Heart of Texas” routinely posted on “Killary Rotten Clinton,” and threatened to secede from the union if she won the election. 

    House Intelligence Committee

  • The “Being Patriotic” page labeled ex-cons as “Obama voters.”

    House Intelligence Committee

Congress just released 3,500 posts touching on a myriad of topics

The U.S. House Intelligence Committee on Thursday released more than 3,500 advertisements and posts spread by Russian trolls before and after the 2016 U.S. election. Below is a look at 10 of the most shocking examples that stood out from Congress’s reveal.

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