Technology

Tech advocacy group uses Zuckerberg deep fake to push for antitrust vote 

FILE – A car passes Facebook’s new Meta logo on a sign at the company headquarters on Oct. 28, 2021, in Menlo Park, Calif. Federal regulators and Facebook parent Meta are battling over Meta’s proposed acquisition of virtual-reality company Within Unlimited and its fitness app Supernatural. (AP Photo/Tony Avelar, File)

A tech advocacy group used a deep fake of Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg in an ad mocking Congress for inaction over antitrust reform and urged a vote on a pair of bipartisan bills before the end of the year. 

Demand Progress Action’s ad launched Tuesday features the Zuckerberg deep fake toasting Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) for holding up their “side of the bargain” by “holding up new laws that hold us accountable,” according to a copy of the ad shared with The Hill.

“Thank you for your service to me and all of my friends,” the deep fake of Zuckerberg states as the ad flashes to a screen showing the CEOs or founders of Apple, Google and Amazon. 

The ad ends with a note disclaiming that “the Zuck is fake, but the message is real,” and urges constituents to call Schumer and urge a vote on antitrust bills before the end of the year while Democrats still control both chambers. Throughout the ad there is also text staying “#FakeZuck” in the corner as the deep fake is speaking. 

Portions of the two-and-a-half-minute video will air as TV ads in Washington, D.C. and New York, according to Demand Progress Action. 

The ad urges a vote on the American Innovation and Choice Online Act, as well as the Open App Markets Act. The first bill aims to limit tech companies from preferencing their own products and services over rivals, the second adds regulations aimed at dominant app stores. 

Proponents of the legislation have urged votes this year, arguing that lawmakers are best suited to get the bills through now before the House changes to GOP control in the new year. 

“If Leader Schumer does not call a vote on these bills or attach them to a must-pass vehicle in the weeks ahead, he will have squandered Congress’s best chance to hold Big Tech accountable in a generation,” Demand Progress Action executive director David Segal said in a statement. 

A spokesperson for Schumer over the summer said the leader would be calling a vote on the bills, but with a dwindling lame duck session and busy agenda the bills have yet to be given a floor vote date.

The four largest tech companies, Meta, Apple, Google and Amazon, as well as industry groups representing them, have pushed back fiercely on the legislation that targets their market power. 

The bills advanced out of the Senate Judiciary Committee with bipartisan support earlier this year. Companion bills in the House advanced out of the Judiciary Committee last summer.

Tags Chuck Schumer Mark Zuckerberg Nancy Pelosi
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