Pelosi: Facebook panders to the White House for tax breaks

The social media giant is not interested in being regulated, paying taxes, speaker says

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Thursday that Facebook "just panders" to the White House for tax breaks.

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Her comments came after Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg on Thursday explained his company's decision not to add a label to President Trump's post about mail-in ballots that Twitter decided to fact check.

"We have a different policy than, I think, Twitter on this. ... Facebook shouldn’t be the arbiter of truth," Zuckerberg had said.

Trump Twitter fact-check label / FBN

Pelosi related Zuckerberg's stance on the issue of social media editorial behavior as a way for them to ensure the company is "making money, avoiding taxes and regulation" during her weekly press conference.

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"All they want is to not pay taxes. When they got their tax break in 2017 -- the tax scam [that] gave all those advantages to the high end -- and they don't want to be regulated," she said. "You see what Facebook, Zuckerberg, is saying today about all of this. He just panders. Tax cuts, no regulation."

She added that Facebook's " business model is to misrepresent the facts and to be a platform to do that and to try to hide freedom of speech, which is, of course, a complete violation of everything freedom of speech stands for."

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of Calif., speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, May 28, 2020. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

Zuckerberg has expressed support for free speech on the social media platform while simultaneously combatting harmful misinformation after he came under fire in October for changing its policies to allow politicians to run ads that have not been independently fact-checked.

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But Pelosi argues that all the social media giant cares about is money at the expense of the truth.

"Facebook...they're all about making money. Their business model is to make money at the expense of the truth and the facts that they know," she said.

She added that Facebook knew Russians "were engaged in foul play" ahead of the 2016 presidential election and didn't intervene because they wanted to profit from the activity.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of Calif., speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, May 28, 2020. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

"Is there no honor among thieves? That's really what it comes down to. They've exploited the truth, and some have made money off of it, and some have made money off of it, the misrepresentations," she said.

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Pelosi also condemned Twitter for not taking down another Trump tweet touting a radical conspiracy theory about MSNBC host Joe Scarborough, saying the social media company is "selective" about what it chooses to fact-check.

Trump has sparked a nationwide debate over whether social media companies should hold to power to add labels and fact-checks to users' tweets after his tweet received one such label. The social media giant's action and Trump's response rekindled simmering frustration among Republicans who say their voices are being censored on platforms with workforces concentrated in liberal-leaning Silicon Valley.

Trump is expected to issue an executive order that would update Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act.

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