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Congresswoman Joyce Beatty

Representing the 3rd District of Ohio

Watch Mark Zuckerberg fail miserably when asked about civil rights

Oct 23, 2019
News Articles

Congresswoman Joyce Beatty is not messing around. 

The Democrat from Ohio had a chance to question Mark Zuckerberg Wednesday morning during a livestreamed congressional hearing ostensibly about Libra, and took the opportunity to press the Facebook CEO on his knowledge of and commitment to civil rights. Let's just say that Zuckerberg's response was less than stellar. 

Congresswoman Beatty began by calling bullshit on Zuckerberg's previous comments he made that morning regarding civil rights. 

"In your opening statement, you talked a lot about civil rights," noted the congresswoman. "I think we should probably phrase it a little differently: That your work with civil rights work is because of, is a result of, the number of lawsuits that you've had."

And Beatty was just getting started. After Zuckerberg confirmed that he does, in fact, know what redlining is, the congresswoman let him have it.

"OK then you should have known better, and maybe if you had real diversity or inclusion on your team somebody in that room would have said what you were doing when you looked at what you were doing in the housing, how you were redlining, or using zip codes to eliminate people from getting information." 

The congresswoman appeared to be referring to charges filed by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development earlier this year alleging that Facebook's advertising tools violated the Fair Housing Act and enabled housing discrimination. 

Facebook, of course, goes to great pains to publicly emphasize its commitment to civil rights. In June of this year, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg published a lengthy blog post detailing the company's work with "the noted civil rights law firm Relman, Dane and Colfax." 

Sandberg wrote that "[Facebook] will continue listening to feedback from the civil rights community and address the important issues they’ve raised[.]" 

Beatty clearly had this on her mind when she asked Zuckerberg her next series of questions. 

"Do you know who the firm that you employ for civil rights is," asked the congresswoman. 

"Uh, congresswoman, I don't," responded Zuckerberg. 

This, apparently, was just too much for Beatty. 

"How could you not know when you have employed the most historical, the largest civil rights firm to deal with issues that are major," she asked. "And this is what's so frustrating to me. It's almost like you think this is a joke." 

But wait, there's more. 

"When you have ruined the lives of many people, discriminated against them," continued Beatty. "Do you know what percentage of African Americans are on Facebook in comparison to majority folks?"

Zuckerberg replied that, in fact, he does not know that because Facebook "[doesn't] collect the races of people."

SEE ALSO: Mark Zuckerberg keeps lying about Facebook's origin story

Again, Beatty wasn't having it. 

"Well it came out in a report and in the Pew Research Center that was sent to you," she noted. "So maybe you just don't read a lot things that deal with civil rights or African Americans."

Maybe indeed. However, after today's very public humiliation, we hope that will change — for both Zuckerberg's and all of our sakes. 


This article was originally published by Mashable on October 23, 2019.