Just a day after the U.S. House of Representatives released a scathing report on antitrust issues with four big tech companies including Facebook, a nonprofit group that reportedly includes former Facebook employees and Clinton campaign staffers has launched an attack ad that focuses on Mark Zuckerberg himself.
The ad, from a group calling itself Accountable Tech, was posted to YouTube Wednesday, and it juxtaposes Zuckerberg delivering his usual bullshit spiel before Congress about his company's utopian mission with video and headlines from the last year condemning Facebook's failures.
"It's not enough to just connect people. We have to make sure that those connections are positive," Zuckerberg says during one of his several congressional hearings in recent years, while images and headlines flash on the screen about militia groups in Kenosha, the QAnon conspiracy that Facebook has failed to squelch, and the alt-right Boogaloo movement that may have been born in part in Facebook Groups.
As the New York Times reports, this ad and possibly others are scheduled to run on CNN both before and after the vice-presidential debate Wednesday night.
On the Accountable Tech website, the group says it is comprised of "advocates for the social media companies at the center of today’s information ecosystem to strengthen the integrity of their platforms and our democracy."
The cofounders of the group are Nicole Gill, an activist for marriage equality and tax policy who founded the Tax March in 2017; and Jesse Lehrich, who worked as foreign policy spokesman for Hillary Clinton's 2016 campaign.
Facebook has been barraged on all sides for the last two years, but in particular the last year, over its handling of political ads, misinformation, conspiracy theories, and speech that promotes both hate and violence. The left has railed against the company for permitting the president and his campaign to amplify lies, some of which have been aimed at disenfranchising voters or discouraging voting altogether, while the right has whined about the platform's perceived liberal bias and "free speech" — which many on the right have used as an umbrella term to legitimize hate speech and racial dogwhistles of all kinds.
Just yesterday, Facebook once again vowed to remove all posts, pages, and groups devoted to the QAnon conspiracy on Facebook and Instagram — something the company has done at least twice previously, to various degrees and to little effect.
The Democrat-led House Subcommittee on Antitrust, Commercial and Administrative Law, a subcommittee under the Judiciary Committee, issued a 449-page report on Tuesday that's the result of a 16-month investigation of Amazon, Apple, Google/Alphabet, and Facebook, with regard to their alleged monopoly power.
Comparing once "scrappy startups" to the oil barons of 19th and early 20th century, the report condemned all four companies on multiple fronts, and particularly slammed Facebook for having such a complete monopoly that it colludes with itself — citing an effort by Mark Zuckerberg to keep Facebook-owned Instagram from eclipsing Facebook in popularity.
The Times breaks down 12 key findings in the report, which also include the proliferation of toxic content that has been enabled by the lack of competition in the social media space.
Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images