Bernice King, the daughter of Martin Luther King Jr., reminded Facebook founder and CEO Mark ZuckerbergMark ZuckerbergFacebook formula gave anger five times weight of likes, documents show 'Facebook Papers' turn up heat on embattled social media platform TikTok, Snapchat executives to make Capitol Hill debuts MORE what her father stood for after Zuckerberg invoked the civil rights leader while defending the social media company on Thursday.
During a speech in Washington, D.C., defending the platform, Zuckerberg twice referenced the civil rights era and MLK when advocating for “free expression” on Facebook, drawing a sharp response from Bernice King.
“I’d like to help Facebook better understand the challenges #MLK faced from disinformation campaigns launched by politicians. These campaigns created an atmosphere for his assassination,” she tweeted Thursday, just hours after Zuckerberg’s speech at Georgetown University.
I heard #MarkZuckerberg's ‘free expression’ speech, in which he referenced my father. I'd like to help Facebook better understand the challenges #MLK faced from disinformation campaigns launched by politicians. These campaigns created an atmosphere for his assassination. pic.twitter.com/h97gvVmtSZ— Be A King (@BerniceKing) October 17, 2019
“In times of social turmoil, our impulse is often to pull back on free expression. We want the progress that comes from free expression, but not the tension,” Zuckerberg said in the speech. “We saw this when Martin Luther King Jr. wrote his famous letter from Birmingham Jail, where he was unconstitutionally jailed for protesting peacefully.”
The Facebook CEO also referenced "efforts to shut down campus protests against the Vietnam War" and Americans' views during World War I.
Zuckerberg's rare public appearance followed Facebook’s controversial decision to allow politicians to run political advertisements on the platform that contain false or misleading claims.
He lamented in an interview with The Washington Post before the event that it is “something we have to live with.”
Zuckerberg and Facebook have faced criticism from lawmakers over the social media giant's role in allowing disinformation to thrive on its platform.
“We are at a crossroads,” Zuckerberg said during the speech. “We can either stand for free expression ... or we can decide the cost is simply too great. We must continue to stand for free expression.”
Facebook most recently faced backlash from Democratic presidential candidates after President TrumpDonald TrumpOvernight Defense & National Security — Presented by Boeing — Milley warns of 'Sputnik moment' for China WSJ publishes letter from Trump continuing to allege voter fraud in PA Oath Keeper who was at Capitol on Jan. 6 runs for New Jersey State Assembly MORE’s reelection campaign aired an advertisement on the platform that accuses former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenBiden to meet House Dems before Europe trip: report 21 House Democrats call for removing IRS bank reporting proposal from spending bill Overnight Health Care — Presented by Altria — Vulnerable House Dems push drug pricing plan MORE of using his office to pressure Ukrainian officials to drop an investigation into a company where his son, Hunter Biden, sat on the board. There is no evidence of illegal activity by Biden or his son.
In response, Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenOvernight Energy & Environment — Presented by American Clean Power — Democrats prepare to grill oil execs Manchin dampens progressive hopes for billionaires tax Merkley, Warren and Markey sound alarm over 'dirty' hydrogen provision in climate deal MORE (D-Mass.) ran her own campaign ad that falsely claims that Zuckerberg supports Trump for reelection.