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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 ZuckerbergNew York Times expands its live news staff Hillicon Valley: YouTube to restore Trump's account | House-passed election bill takes aim at foreign interference | Senators introduce legislation to create international tech partnerships Far-right misinformation received highest engagement on Facebook: study 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 TrumpTrump announces new tranche of endorsements DeSantis, Pence tied in 2024 Republican poll Lawmakers demand changes after National Guard troops at Capitol sickened from tainted food MORE’s reelection campaign aired an advertisement on the platform that accuses former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenSenate holds longest vote in history as Democrats scramble to save relief bill Ex-Trump appointee arrested in Capitol riot complains he won't be able to sleep in jail Biden helps broker Senate deal on unemployment benefits 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 WarrenSenate rejects Sanders minimum wage hike Philly city council calls on Biden to 'cancel all student loan debt' in first 100 days Hillicon Valley: High alert as new QAnon date approaches Thursday | Biden signals another reversal from Trump with national security guidance | Parler files a new case MORE (D-Mass.) ran her own campaign ad that falsely claims that Zuckerberg supports Trump for reelection.