14:07 GMT30 March 2020
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    Former Vice President Joe Biden's presidential campaign lashed out at Mark Zuckerberg on Thursday over a speech where the Facebook CEO defended his company's decision not to remove political adverts containing what is alleged to be false information.

    Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has offered his opinion in response to calls for social media companies to suspend US President Donald Trump's activities on social media platforms such as Twitter, as he gave an exclusive interview on Fox News’s "The Daily Briefing".

    Zuckerberg said:

    "My belief is that in a democracy, I don’t think that we want private companies censoring politicians in the news."

    Zuckerberg was asked about Sen. Kamala Harris' demand earlier this month that Twitter shut down Donald Trump's account.

    The 2020 Democratic presidential candidate had cited the president's tweets against the whistle-blower, who revealed details of his call with the Ukrainian president and his posts slamming members of Congress.

    The CEO of the social-networking website Facebook emphasised that Silicon Valley shouldn't be taking such actions.

    "I generally believe that as a principle, people should decide what is credible and what they want to believe, who they want to vote for. And I don’t think that should be something that we want tech companies or any kind of company doing," said the American technology entrepreneur in the interview airing Friday at 2 PM ET.

    In connection with Facebook’s recent decision to update its policies for political and social issue ads ahead of 2020 elections, Mark Zuckerberg responded to criticism of his platform from another Democratic presidential candidate.

    Last week Sen. Elizabeth Warren's campaign account had tweeted that it had called the company’s bluff by creating a "Facebook ad with false claims" and submitted it to the social media site's platform, which approved it.

    Warren's team claimed Facebook had "changed their ads policy to allow politicians to run ads with known lies — explicitly turning the platform into a disinformation-for-profit machine."

    In the Fox News interview, Zuckerberg stressed that it is important for Americans to "think for themselves" about what politicians say.

    "Political speech is one of the most scrutinised [forms of] speech that is out there, so that’s already happening. Our position on this is not an outlier," stated Zuckerberg.

    On Thursday, former Vice President Joe Biden's presidential campaign targeted Mark Zuckerberg over a speech where the Facebook CEO defended his company's decision not to remove political adverts containing allegedly false information.

    “Facebook has chosen to sell Americans’ personal data to politicians looking to target them with disproven lies and conspiracy theories, crowding out the voices of working Americans,” read a statement by Bill Russo, the deputy communications director for the Biden campaign.
    "Zuckerberg attempted to use the Constitution as a shield for his company’s bottom line, and his choice to cloak Facebook’s policy in a feigned concern for free expression demonstrates how unprepared his company is for this unique moment in our history and how little it has learned over the past few years.”

    The comments followed a livestreamed speech made by Zuckerberg at Georgetown University where he argued that it is not Facebook's responsibility to regulate political content.

    Zuckerberg and Facebook had to deal with a backlash after the speech, especially after President Trump’s reelection campaign published a $1 million ad targeting Biden and accusing the former vice president of abusing office to pressure Ukrainian officials to stop a corruption investigation into his son Hunter Biden.

    U.S. Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden (File)
    © AP Photo / Visar Kryeziu
    U.S. Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden (File)

    House Democrats launched impeachment proceedings against President Trump in September following accusations that in a call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, he had pressured the foreign leader to investigate corruption allegations targeting Joe Biden and his son.

    Trump has rejected all accusations levelled against him as a political “witch hunt”.


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