Ocasio-Cortez grills Zuckerberg over political ad policy

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezOcasio-Cortez posts experience getting antibody tested for COVID-19 The continuous whipsawing of climate change policy Budowsky: United Democrats and Biden's New Deal MORE (D-N.Y.) grilled Facebook CEO Mark ZuckerbergMark Elliot ZuckerbergRemote working takes off for Twitter, Facebook, tech companies Hillicon Valley: Facebook permanently shifting thousands of jobs to remote work | Congressional action on driverless cars hits speed bump during pandemic | Republicans grill TikTok over data privacy concerns Largest tech company CEOs made billions amid pandemic MORE about his company's new political ad policy during a House Financial Services Committee hearing Wednesday.

The freshman New York lawmaker asked Zuckerberg a series of hypotheticals about what types of political ads candidates could run without Facebook taking them down.

"Could I pay to target predominantly black zip codes and advertise them the incorrect election date?" Ocasio-Cortez asked.

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"No, you couldn't," Zuckerberg responded, emphasizing the platform's policy of intervening in political ads when they incite violence or could lead to voter suppression.

"Could I run ads targeting Republicans in primaries saying that they voted for the Green New Deal?" Ocasio-Cortez then asked.

"Congresswoman, I don't know the answer to that off the top of my head," Zuckerberg said. "I think probably."

"Do you see a problem here with a complete lack of fact-checking on political advertisements?" Ocasio-Cortez countered.

"Congresswoman, I think lying is bad," Zuckerberg responded.

"So you will take down lies, or you won't take down lies? I think this is a pretty simple yes or no," she asked again.

"It depends on the context that it shows up," the tech executive responded.

Criticism of Facebook's new rule to give broad deference to political content escalated after President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump retweets personal attacks on Clinton, Pelosi, Abrams Biden swipes at Trump: 'Presidency is about a lot more than tweeting from your golf cart' GOP sues California over Newsom's vote-by-mail order MORE’s campaign ran an ad accusing former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenTrump retweets personal attacks on Clinton, Pelosi, Abrams Biden swipes at Trump: 'Presidency is about a lot more than tweeting from your golf cart' How will COVID-19 affect the Hispanic vote come November? 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.

Facebook declined to remove the ad despite the fact that there was no evidence to support the allegations against the 2020 Democratic presidential candidate.

Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenWarren to host high-dollar fundraiser for Biden It's as if a Trump operative infiltrated the Democratic primary process Hillicon Valley: Lawmakers demand answers on Chinese COVID hacks | Biden re-ups criticism of Amazon | House Dem bill seeks to limit microtargeting MORE (D-Mass.), another presidential candidate, has been particularly outspoken against the policy and ran an ad falsely claiming that Zuckerberg had endorsed Trump to draw attention to the controversy.

Meanwhile, Facebook has defended the policy, arguing private companies should not make determinations over what political candidates are allowed to say.

Ocasio-Cortez's questioning of Zuckerberg came during a hearing focused on Facebook's Libra cryptocurrency project.