Ocasio-Cortez rips Facebook over meme attributed to fellow incoming rep

Rep.-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) on Monday ripped Facebook for failing to prevent the spread of misinformation on its platform, specifically referring to a meme that falsely attributed an inflammatory quote to her fellow incoming Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.). 

The meme, which reportedly originated on Facebook, claimed that Omar once said, "I think all white men should be put in chains as slaves because they will never submit to Islam." 

According to the fact-checker Politifact, there is no proof that Omar, one of the first two Muslim-American women elected to Congress, ever said this. 


"That the right is mobilizing fake quotes, conspiracies + outright hatred, particularly on Congresswomen of color, shows how vapid they are on actual issues," Ocasio-Cortez said alongside screenshots of Twitter users sharing the photo. "The racism allowed towards Ilhan + others is completely unacceptable. @Facebook has clearly lost control of their product." 

Facebook has faced over a year of intense public scrutiny over revelations that the platform enabled the spread of "fake news" during the 2016 presidential election. Facebook CEO Mark ZuckerbergMark Elliot ZuckerbergBig Tech should pay for damaging mental health The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Alibaba - House Democrats plagued by Biden agenda troubles Webb: Big Tech won't change; the tech sector can MORE has repeatedly said Facebook avoids banning content because it is difficult to differentiate between outright falsehoods and analysis or opinion. 

"Also to mention that this isn’t an issue confined to FB - @Twitter struggles with hate speech + fake accounts as well," Ocasio-Cortez added. "Whenever a major news event pops up, I see farms of fake accounts that rise up to influence discourse + spread disinformation. We need to get it together." 

Twitter has also fielded criticism over its hate speech policies, as many have accused the social media giant of failing to protect its users from death threats and aggressive harassment.  

Lawmakers are debating whether and how to regulate social media platforms and content.

Other incoming lawmakers weighed in to support Omar, including the other incoming Muslim-American female lawmaker, Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.).

"I love what you always tell me when I worry about the hateful attacks on you," Tlaib wrote in response to Omar on Twitter. "'I survived war, I can survive this.' @IlhanMN You are the definition of strength." Omar is a Somali refugee. 

Facebook did not immediately respond to The Hill's request for comment.