Facebook COO Sheryl 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, who has called for the break up of tech giants like Facebook, if she were the nominee.
During a mostly tense conversation with the journalist Katie Couric at Vanity Fair’s New Establishment Summit on Tuesday afternoon, Couric asked the Facebook executive about her thoughts on the senator before diving into Sandberg’s political preferences.
“How are you feeling about Elizabeth Warren these days?” Couric asked.
“So, I know Elizabeth Warren–” Sandberg began.
“Would you support her if she’s the Democratic nominee?” Couric said.
“I’m a Democrat, I have supported Democrat nominees in the past. I imagine I will support a Democrat nominee for president,” Sandberg responded.
“If it’s Elizabeth Warren?” Couric pressed.
“I’m not in the primary right now. I think that’s a good place for us to be, and so I’m not going to let you drag me into the primary, but I am a very well understood Democrat,” Sandberg said. “I was a supporter of Hillary Clinton. I have spoken for many years about my desire for my daughter and yours to see a woman as president, and so I’d like that–“
“That sounds like a yes,” Couric interjected.
“I’d like that not just here,” Sandberg demurred, “I’d like that all over the world.”
During their conversation, Couric also pressed the Facebook executive on leaked audio of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg talking about Warren, the prevalence of “fake news” and videos on the platform, and the company’s decision to not fact-check political ads.
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.
“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.”