Martin Luther King Jr.'s daughter knocks Zuckerberg for invoking her father while defending Facebook

Martin Luther King Jr.'s daughter knocks Zuckerberg for invoking her father while defending Facebook
© Aaron Schwartz

Bernice King, the daughter of Martin Luther King Jr., reminded Facebook founder and CEO Mark ZuckerbergMark Elliot ZuckerbergHillicon Valley: Biden calls for revoking tech legal shield | DHS chief 'fully expects' Russia to try to interfere in 2020 | Smaller companies testify against Big Tech 'monopoly power' Michigan governor urges Zuckerberg to enforce community guidelines after hate speech, threats surface Smaller companies testify against Big Tech's 'monopoly power' 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. 

“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.”

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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 John TrumpNational Archives says it altered Trump signs, other messages in Women's March photo Dems plan marathon prep for Senate trial, wary of Trump trying to 'game' the process Democratic lawmaker dismisses GOP lawsuit threat: 'Take your letter and shove it' MORE’s reelection campaign aired an advertisement on the platform that accuses former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenSanders to headline Iowa event amid impeachment trial Hillicon Valley: Biden calls for revoking tech legal shield | DHS chief 'fully expects' Russia to try to interfere in 2020 | Smaller companies testify against Big Tech 'monopoly power' Hill.TV's Krystal Ball on Sanders-Warren feud: 'Don't play to the pundits, play to voters' 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 Ann WarrenSanders to headline Iowa event amid impeachment trial Hill.TV's Saagar Enjeti rips Sanders over handling of feud with Warren On The Money — Presented by Wells Fargo — Sanders defends vote against USMCA | China sees weakest growth in 29 years | Warren praises IRS move on student loans MORE (D-Mass.) ran her own campaign ad that falsely claims that Zuckerberg supports Trump for reelection.