Leading Brexit campaigner Nigel Farage told Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg on Tuesday that the United Kingdom’s 2016 European Union referendum result, Donald Trump’s election as US president, and the recent rise of populism in Italy would not have occurred without his company.
Zuckerberg’s widely anticipated hearing before the European Parliament didn’t produce the same fireworks as the Facebook founder’s appearances before US Congress last month, in part due to a clumsy questioning format and time limit. That said, Farage, a UKIP European parliamentary member, did use his allotted time to credit the social media giant for its role in mobilizing support for the EU referendum and Donald Trump’s successful bid for the US presidency.
“Historically, of course, it’s true that through Facebook and other forms of social media, there’s no way that Brexit or Trump or the Italian election could have ever possibly happened,” Farage said. “It was social media that allowed people to get around the back of mainstream media.”
“Perhaps you’re horrified of this creation of yours and what it’s led to,” Farage added.
Farage’s remarks were part of nearly an hour of questions from European Parliament members, who took turns one by one asking Zuckerberg multipart questions about his company’s conduct.
Zuckerberg used a short opening statement to apologize for Facebook’s recent scandals, including its role in spreading fake news, failing to recognize Russian attempts to plant fake ads during the US election, and a privacy misstep involving the political consulting firm Cambridge…