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Facebook defends policy allowing false political ads

Last Updated Oct 24, 2019 at 4:54 pm PDT

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., speaks with other lawmakers during a break from testimony from Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg before a House Financial Services Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Oct. 23, 2019, on Facebook's impact on the financial services and housing sectors. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Facebook is defending its policy of not fact checking political ads or politicians’ comments after CEO Mark Zuckerberg faced withering criticism from Democratic legislators.

In a statement to the Associated Press Thursday, Facebook says a private company shouldn’t censor politicians, even if they make misleading or bogus claims.

It says that removing false ads or statements could leave politicians less accountable for their words.

House Democrats, including Maxine Waters of California and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, criticized Zuckerberg for the policy at a hearing Wednesday.

Ocasio-Cortez questioned whether the policy would allow politicians to plant ads making up false claims about their opponents. Zuckerberg said it “probably” would be allowed.

Twitter and YouTube have also been criticized for not removing false political ads.

David Klepper, The Associated Press