- Florida Representative Matt Gaetz on Monday accused Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg of lying to Congress in two hearings in 2018 and asked Attorney General William Barr to investigate the matter.
- Gaetz alleged that Zuckerberg had made false statements by “repeating and categorically [denying] any bias against conservative speeches, people, politics or politics ”on Facebook.
- The Florida congressman cited a recent injection surgery by dubious right-wing activist group Project Veritas to support his claims against Zuckerberg.
- President Donald Trump and Republican lawmakers frequently accuse Facebook and Zuckerberg of having anti-conservative biases.
- But reporters pointed out that many of the top performing Facebook posts came from right-wing pages and that Zuckerberg hosted several informal dinners with influential Tory figures.
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Florida Representative Matt Gaetz on Monday accused Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg of lying to Congress and asked the Department of Justice to investigate the matter.
In a letter to Attorney General William Barr, Gaetz alleged that Zuckerberg made false statements to Congress about the moderation of Facebook content during two hearings in 2018.
“On both occasions, members of Congress questioned Mr. Zuckerberg about allegations that Facebook censored and removed content supporting President Donald Trump and other conservatives,” Gaetz wrote.
“In his responses, Mr. Zuckerberg has repeatedly and categorically denied any bias against conservative speech, people, policies or politics,” he added. “Mr. Zuckerberg also rejected the suggestion that Facebook exercises any form of editorial manipulation. ”
(Here’s what Zuckerberg said when asked if Facebook had an anti-conservative bias: “First, I understand where this concern is coming from because Facebook and the tech industry are located in Silicon Valley. , which is an extremely left-wing place. And that’s actually a concern that I have and try to root out in the business, is to make sure that we don’t have any bias in the work we’re doing, and I think it’s a fair concern that people at least ask themselves. ”)
In his letter to Barr, Gaetz said that “recent reports from Project Veritas, featuring whistleblowers who worked as Facebook’s ‘content moderators’ have shown ample evidence” of the alleged “bias and manipulation” of Facebook against conservative discourse.
Project Veritas is a group of right-wing activists who frequently traffic in disinformation and propaganda. The organization is known for its relentless operations against the mainstream media and for the deceptive editing of videos.
Last month, Project Veritas posted hidden camera footage that appeared to show Facebook content moderators claiming they were removing pro-Trump posts or expressing conservative views.
“According to the Veritas report and undercover footage, the referees have been outspoken about their political biases against Republicans, and have actively chosen to eliminate otherwise permitted content from the platform and from public view simply because of its political orientation, ”Gaetz wrote to Barr. “This arbitrary and capricious behavior is not done in good faith and does not fall under the express intention of § 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which offers protection against Facebook’s liability as long as the platform moderates the content of ‘sincerity’. ”
The Florida congressman added that the Project Veritas investigation also found that Facebook characterized “many” political speeches “supporting the president” as hate speech in violation of company policies. At the same time, the speech encouraging violence against the president and his supporters was labeled as purely ‘political’ and was therefore allowed to remain on the stage, ”Gaetz wrote.
“These facts are in direct contrast to Mr. Zuckerberg’s testimony to Congress where he sworn that Facebook is a politically neutral platform, and that he is personally working to root out all employees who restrict speech on the base of the extremely leftist culture of Silicon Valley. , ” he added. “Such misrepresentation is not only unfair, it is potentially illegal and fraudulent. I hope you will give this reference full and proper consideration. ”
Trump, conservative lawmakers and right-wing media figures have repeatedly accused Zuckerberg and Facebook of anti-Conservative bias.
But reporters pointed out that many of the top performing posts on Facebook come from right-wing pages and the media. The social media giant has also come under heavy criticism for allowing politicians to post ads that are not subject to third-party fact-checking. And last year, Politico reported that Zuckerberg hosted several unofficial dinners with influential Conservative figures, including Fox News commentator Tucker Carlson and Republican Senator Lindsey Graham.