Facebook's Zuckerberg defends controversial ad policy: 'Not about the money'

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, in his first congressional testimony in more than a year, defended the social media behemoth's controversial policy to not fact-check politicians' advertisements.

"This is really not about the money," Zuckerberg said, during a terse back-and-forth with House Financial Services Chair Maxine Waters.

Waters, D-Calif., pressed the 35-year-old billionaire about Facebook's decision to give politicians, who are exempt from third-party fact-checkers, almost total control of the content they post online.

"How does this new policy benefit you?" she asked. "Because it seems like a policy that allows politics to lie would also allow Facebook to sell more ads to those politicians, thus making your company more money."

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Zuckerberg, however, insisted that allowing politicians to say what they want in ads is important in "giving people a voice," particularly when it comes to underdog candidates.

"From a business perspective," he said, "the very small percent of our business that is made up of political ads does not come anywhere close to justifying the controversy."

The company came under fire two weeks ago for refusing to take down a false ad run by President Trump’s reelection campaign about former Vice President Joe Biden, a frontrunner in the 2020 race. In the 30-second ad, the Trump campaign accuses Biden of promising Ukraine $1 billion if its government fired the prosecutor investigating his son, Hunter Biden, who was on the board of a company in the country.

Biden's campaign sent a letter to the company requesting that it remove the ad, but Facebook refused, saying it did not violate company policies.