News and Commentary

Ocasio-Cortez Suggests She Was Responsible For Twitter Banning Political Ads
WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 23: House Financial Services Committee member Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) puts on her glasses as the committee takes a break in the testimony of Facebook co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg in the Rayburn House Office Building on Capitol Hill October 23, 2019 in Washington, DC. Zuckerberg testified about Facebook's proposed cryptocurrency Libra, how his company will handle false and misleading information by political leaders during the 2020 campaign and how it handles its users’ data and privacy.
Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Socialist Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) reportedly believes that she was at least somewhat responsible for Twitter’s decision last month to ban political advertisements, saying that it was not a “coincidence” that the social media platform pulled the ads after she attacked Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

NBC New York reported in a video segment, “The congresswoman says that her recent grilling of Facebook over the accuracy of political ads on their platform had an impact.”

“I don’t think it’s a coincidence that Twitter announced that they were going to pulling political ads the following week,” Ocasio-Cortez told NBC New York.

NBC New York asked Ocasio-Cortez what Republican friends she has made in Congress, to which she refused to give an answer, claiming that these alleged Republican friends that she has would get in trouble if anyone knew.

Ocasio-Cortez suggested during last month’s hearing that she “wanted to take advantage of the fact that Facebook tries to not censor political speech from politicians by intentionally lying in her campaign ads, specifically wanting to falsely claim that Republicans supported her $93 trillion Green New Deal,” The Daily Wire reported. “Ocasio-Cortez then leveled bogus attacks against The Daily Caller, a conservative publication that has been critical of Ocasio-Cortez’s often flawed ideas and has often called out her false statements and highlighted corruption that involves her.”

Ocasio-Cortez’s behavior was condemned by many online who found her attitude and tone to be arrogant and condescending.

Media personality Allie Beth Stuckey wrote on Twitter: “My gosh. @AOC tries very hard to seem fierce and operates solely out of a desire for viral clips. These questions are not at all interesting or clever, and she is cringefully arrogant.”

Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton tweeted: “Left pushes @Facebook to censor political ads of @RealDonaldTrump.”

YouTuber and political analyst Tim Pool wrote on Twitter: AOC just proved exactly why Mark Zuckerberg is right to not police truthfulness of political speech. Poynter runs the fact checking approval for Facebook, she is wrong and is smearing the Daily Caller. Should Facebook ban AOC from saying this on FB?”

Campus Reform Editor-in-Chief Cabot Phillips wrote on Twitter: “AOC is somehow even less likable than a man with the social skills of a brick wall.”

Daily Caller podcast host Derek Hunter wrote on Twitter: “It’s telling how @AOC thinks black people would be so stupid as to believe an ad telling them the wrong election day. That’s some racism right there.”

A week after the hearing, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey announced that Twitter was banning all political ads on the website.

“We’ve made the decision to stop all political advertising on Twitter globally. We believe political message reach should be earned, not bought. Why? A few reasons a political message earns reach when people decide to follow an account or retweet,” Dorsey said. “Paying for reach removes that decision, forcing highly optimized and targeted political messages on people. We believe this decision should not be compromised by money.”

“While internet advertising is incredibly powerful and very effective for commercial advertisers, that power brings significant risks to politics, where it can be used to influence votes to affect the lives of millions,” Dorsey continued. “Internet political ads present entirely new challenges to civic discourse: machine learning-based optimization of messaging and micro-targeting, unchecked misleading information, and deep fakes. All at increasing velocity, sophistication, and overwhelming scale.”

“These challenges will affect ALL internet communication, not just political ads. Best to focus our efforts on the root problems, without the additional burden and complexity taking money brings. Trying to fix both means fixing neither well, and harms our credibility,” Dorsey continued. “For instance, it‘s not credible for us to say: ‘We’re working hard to stop people from gaming our systems to spread misleading info, buuut if someone pays us to target and force people to see their political ad … well … they can say whatever they want!'”

“We considered stopping only candidate ads, but issue ads present a way to circumvent. Additionally, it isn’t fair for everyone but candidates to buy ads for issues they want to push. So we’re stopping these too,” Dorsey continued. “We’re well aware we’re a small part of a much larger political advertising ecosystem. Some might argue our actions today could favor incumbents. But we have witnessed many social movements reach massive scale without any political advertising. I trust this will only grow.”

“In addition, we need more forward-looking political ad regulation (very difficult to do). Ad transparency requirements are progress, but not enough. The internet provides entirely new capabilities, and regulators need to think past the present day to ensure a level playing field,” Dorsey added. “We’ll share the final policy by 11/15, including a few exceptions (ads in support of voter registration will still be allowed, for instance). We’ll start enforcing our new policy on 11/22 to provide current advertisers a notice period before this change goes into effect.”

“A final note. This isn’t about free expression. This is about paying for reach,” Dorsey concluded. “And paying to increase the reach of political speech has significant ramifications that today’s democratic infrastructure may not be prepared to handle. It’s worth stepping back in order to address.”