Who Is Neil Potts? Facebook’s Public Policy Director Pounded With Racist Comments After Congressional Hearing

Who Is Neil Potts? Facebook’s Public Policy Director Pounded With Racist Comments After Congressional Hearing

GARMISCH-PARTENKIRCHEN, Germany (July 21, 2017) – Neil Potts, Public Policy manager at Facebook, who currently serves as the head of Strategic Response, talks about Facebook’s mission and policies July 21 during the Program on Terrorism and Security Studies. #PTSS17_13 (Marshall Center photo by Christine June)

A YouTube livestream of a congressional hearing on online hate was bombarded with racist and anti-Semitic comments by internet users during the proceedings.

It took YouTube about 30 minutes to disable the live chat section of the streaming video because of what it called “hateful comments.”

All this happened while executives from Google and Facebook were appearing before the House Judiciary Committee to answer questions about the companies’ role in the spread of hate crimes and the rise of white nationalism in the U.S., Chicago Tribune reported.

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The tech executives were joined by leaders of such human rights organizations as the Anti-Defamation League and the Equal Justice Society as well as conservative commentator Candace Owens.

Neil Potts, Facebook’s director of public policy, and Alexandria Walden, counsel for free expression and human rights at Google, defended their companies’ policies to prohibit material that incites violence or hate.

“There is no place for terrorism or hate on Facebook,” Potts testified. “We remove any content that incites violence.”

Still, the hearing was interrupted by the hateful comments from Internet user viewing the live feed. In fact, committee chairman Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., read the comments aloud, along with the users’ screen names.

“This just illustrates part of the problem we’re dealing with,” Nadler said.

Before joining Facebook in April 2016, Potts worked as an attorney from 2005 to 2013 at the law firm Patton Boggs LLP in the Washington, D.C. area. He practiced public policy law in areas of antitrust, sports law, and financial services.

He was public policy and legislative affairs counsel at WilmerHale law practice in D.C. from 2013 until April 2016, working in the areas of regulatory and government affairs, public policy and strategic response.