Fact Check

Did Roger Waters Refuse To Grant Mark Zuckerberg Permission To Use Pink Floyd Song in Ad?

Facebook, leave these kids alone!

Published Jun 16, 2021

 (Joe Bielawa/Wikimedia Commons)
Image Via Joe Bielawa/Wikimedia Commons
Mark Zuckerberg wrote to Pink Floyd’s co-founder, Roger Waters, requesting the use of the song “Another Brick in the Wall (Part 2), for an advertisement promoting Instagram, to which Waters said no.
What's True

Roger Waters' team did receive a query from Instagram about using his song "Another Brick in the Wall (Part 2)" for an advertisement, and Waters rejected that request while speaking at an event for Julian Assange.

What's False

According to a company representative, Mark Zuckerberg himself was not involved in the communication between Waters' team and Instagram.

In early June 2021, Roger Waters, singer, songwriter, and co-founder of famed rock band Pink Floyd, spoke at an event for Julian Assange. During the event, he mentioned a missive from Mark Zuckerberg regarding a request to use the song "Another Brick in the Wall (Part 2)," for an Instagram ad.

The clip of Waters speaking went viral on June 12. Waters, who held up a printout claiming it was from Facebook, has long called for the release of the WikiLeaks founder, joining many supporters who say Assange exposed abuses of power.

At the event, Waters said:

It arrived on the internet to me this morning. It’s a request for the rights to use my song “Another Brick in the Wall, 2” in the making of a film to promote Instagram. So it’s a missive [...] from Mark Zuckerberg to me. It arrived this morning, with an offer for a huge, huge amount of money. And the answer is, ‘F— you. No f—in’ way.’

He proceeded to read from the paper, saying “We want to thank you for considering this project, we feel that the core sentiment of this song is still so prevalent and necessary today, which speaks to how timeless a work [it is].”

The lyrics of the song are, “We don’t need no education/We don’t need no thought control/No dark sarcasm in the classroom/Teacher leave them kids alone [...] All in all, you're just another brick in the wall.”

Reminding people of the song’s sentiments, Waters continued, “And yet, they want to use [this song] to make Facebook and Instagram even bigger and more powerful than it already is, so that it can continue to censor all of us in this room, and prevent this story about Julian Assange getting out to the general public [...]”

He continued by criticizing Zuckerberg and the website he started back in college called Facemash that would rate women’s appearances. “How did this little prick who started off by saying ‘She’s pretty, we’ll give her a 4 out of 5,’ [...] How the f— did he get any power in anything, and yet here he is one of the most powerful idiots in the world.”

We reached out to Facebook, and a representative disputed some of the details presented by Waters. A spokesperson told us that a third party marketing agency did reach out on behalf of Instagram to make an initial request to see if Waters’ team was interested in allowing the use of the song; there were no formal offers of payment made.

Zuckerberg was not involved in the process, the spokesperson said. The conversation took place between third party agencies which were Instagram’s marketing agency, and representatives for Roger Waters.

She added, that there were no formal offers made, and discussions were still happening over the weekend. As of Saturday, they were waiting for a formal quote from Mr. Waters’ team. Then they heard Waters make his public statement at the Assange event, which they took to be his decision on the request.

We asked what the advertisement campaign was about, but the spokesperson would not confirm the details, saying it was simply, an early stage exploration. She added, that marketers reach out to musicians all the time, and they fully respect the decision of the artist or musicians.

We have reached out to Waters’ team to confirm the details of their exchange with Instagram. We will update this post if we hear more information. Given that we know that Waters said no to Instagram, but the details of their interaction differ, we rate this as a “Mixture."

Nur Nasreen Ibrahim is a reporter with experience working in television, international news coverage, fact checking, and creative writing.

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