US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has confessed to not being a big fan of Facebook, and touched on this in comments she made on Friday.
Pelosi’s way of articulating her dislike of the company, however, is quite interesting, even for a politician: “I don’t know what they have been doing, but I know they’ve been part of the problem all along.”
This prominent Democrat managed to confess to both being ignorant of what’s going on in one of the world’s most influential and powerful entities – Facebook – and also, that not knowing the facts doesn’t stop her from “knowing” that somebody else is in the wrong.
As usual, Pelosi was not going after Facebook here because of what’s actually wrong with it – and that bears repeating, because not many people do it: it’s mass collection and monetization of users’ personal information, and Facebook’s role in manipulating public conversation and in the digital ad market duopoly it shares with Google.
Pelosi’s ax to grind here instead was with Facebook “not doing enough” to stop what she refers to as misinformation.
“I would hope that they have some sense of responsibility, because they were very much a part of causing this problem,” she told reporters during a regular weekly briefing.
Pelosi quoted the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) on Thursday saying that this was the “most secure in American history.”
Pelosi didn’t bring up the issue herself, instead commenting in response to a question. Her other remarks called social media companies poisonous to democracy (for spreading ideas she doesn’t like), and the same is true of technology in general, according to her.
It’s hard to tell how much of this is just perfunctory criticism, now that Pelosi and her political camp have gotten what they wanted in terms of censorship, and considering how hard big platforms have worked to censor and deplatform their opponents.
It’s also worth noting that Pelosi bears a personal grudge against Facebook as the giant failed to quickly purge the platform of a video of her with the audio slowed down, thus making her appear drunk. (In fact, Facebook never did delete the video because Pelosi’s words were not actually altered. But Facebook still slapped a label on it and deranked it into oblivion.)