Sheryl Sandberg Defends Facebook ‘Services’ in Tense Exchange With Katie Couric

J. Clara Chan

Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg defended her company in a tense conversation with journalist Katie Couric on Tuesday, saying Facebook should not be broken up by the government “because we think we’re able to provide great services across the board.”

The response came during a heightened conversation at Vanity Fair’s New Establishment Summit where Couric pressed the Facebook executive on leaked audio of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg talking about democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren, who has said she’d break up tech giants like Facebook, Amazon and Google; the prevalence of “fake news” and videos on the platform; and the company’s decision to not fact-check political ads.

Sandberg said she will likely support a Democratic candidate in the 2020 election but stopped short of saying she’d vote for Senator Elizabeth Warren if she were the nominee.

“I imagine I will support a Democrat nominee,” Sandberg said at Vanity Fair’s New Establishment Summit on Tuesday afternoon. “I’m a Democrat, I have supported Democrat nominees in the past.”

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As for the leaked audio, Sandberg did not clarify what Zuckerberg meant by “you go to the mat and you fight” if someone like Warren tried to break up companies like Facebook.

“We’ll have to see,” Sandberg said before adding, “We don’t want Facebook to be broken up because we think we’re able to provide great services across the board.”

Couric also asked about Facebook’s role in spreading a doctored video of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, which was edited to make it appear as if Pelosi was slurring her words. Sandberg acknowledged that the platform was too slow to label the video as being fake.

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“The process for getting it to [the fact checkers] and getting it back moved way too slowly,” she said. “In that case, we should’ve caught it way earlier. … We know we’re going to need to move way, way, way faster.”

But when it comes to Facebook’s announcement that it would not fact-check any political ads on its platform — a move that Warren tested with an intentionally false ad — Sandberg doubled down on the platform’s decision.

“We take political ads because we believe they are a part of political discourse,” Sandberg said. “We think it’s very important that we judge as little as possible.”

Read original story Sheryl Sandberg Defends Facebook ‘Services’ in Tense Exchange With Katie Couric At TheWrap