Before Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg faced a barrage of questions from lawmakers in Washington on Tuesday, an advocacy group staged a public spectacle of its own. Members placed 100 life-size cutouts of Zuckerberg on the lawn outside the Capitol, each wearing a T-shirt with the message “Fix Fakebook.”
The crowd of cardboard Zuckerbergs, planted between the Capitol building and the Library of Congress, was designed to call attention to the fake accounts that spread disinformation on the social network, according to Avaaz, a global activist network that organized the public display. The installation coincided with the first day that Zuckerberg testified before congressional lawmakers, who are demanding that he explain how Facebook came to compromise the privacy of tens of millions of Americans and helped spread false news, as well as disinformation from Russian actors.
Avaaz said in a statement that it “is calling on the CEO to ban all bots, alert the public any and every time users see fake or disinformation, fund fact checkers around the world, and submit to an independent audit to review the scale and scope of fake news.”
Zuckerberg was scheduled to testify before a joint session of two Senate panels — the Commerce and Judiciary committees — Tuesday afternoon. He is to testify on Wednesday before the House Energy and Commerce Committee.
As many as 43 senators are set to question Zuckerberg, including Sen. Christopher A. Coons (D-Del.), who said on Twitter that he has learned of two fake Facebook accounts that are impersonating him and are associated with what appear to be Russian accounts.