Rep. Matt Gatz, R-Fla., On Monday asked Attorney General William Burr to open a criminal investigation on Mark Zuckerberg, alleging that the Facebook CEO lied to Congress.
In a letter to Barr, Getz accused the social media executive of making false statements to Congress on two occasions in 2018. He alleged that Zuckerberg repeatedly and explicitly denied any prejudice against conservative speech, individuals, policies or politics on his platform.
“On both occasions, members of Congress asked Mr. Zuckerberg about allegations that Facebook censored and suppressed the content support of President Donald Trump and other conservatives,” Getz wrote.
“Mr. Zuckerberg also rejected suggestions that Facebook uses any form of editorial manipulation,” he said.
Zuckerberg made the comment in 2018 under questioning from Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Tex, who accused Facebook of “bias and censorship”. Cruz cited the 2016 Gizmodo, alleging that the social media platform deliberately suppressed conservative news. Zuckerberg replied:
I understand where this concern is coming from, because Facebook and the tech industry are located in Silicon Valley, a highly left-leaning place. And this is really a concern that I have, and that I am trying to root out the company, making sure that we have no bias in the work we do. And I think this is a reasonable concern about which people would at least wonder.
As evidence to support his claims, Getz directed Barre to a recent sting by Project Veritas, a right-wing organization that misinformed and mislead liberal organizations, mainstream media outlets and public figures Is known to have taken over through “Insider” videos.
Project Veritas reportedly published hidden camera footage of alleged Facebook content moderators and admitted that they removed conservative posts. Gaetz says that “whistleblowers” in the video offer “substantial evidence” of the company’s “bias and manipulation”.
“According to Veritas’ reports and undercover footage, adjudicators were vocal about their political bias against Republicans and actively chose to eliminate otherwise acceptable content from the platform and only from the public point of view due to their political orientation, “Getz wrote.
“At the same time,” Getz said, “the speech that promoted violence against the president and his supporters was simply labeled as ‘political’ and thus allowed him to remain on stage.”
The Republican representative also claims, citing evidence that Facebook’s artificial intelligence content screening program is not politically neutral, which it alleges is a violation of the “good faith” provision of the Communications Decency Act.
Republicans – from Internet trolls, to legalists and President Donald Trump themselves – regularly accuse anti-conservative bias on Facebook and other social media platforms.
However, Facebook launched its own project in the weeks following the 2016 election – to campaign “Project P,” which found dozens of pages peddling fake news ahead of Trump’s victory. According to the Washington Post, almost all the pages were based overseas, had financial objectives and “clearly displayed the correct balance”.
Another reason why moderators may encounter an overdose of flagged conservative content is because Facebook’s most popular content has become highly conservative over time. Nick Bilton of Vanity Fair reported earlier this year that Facebook became the home of right-wing America, while Twitter and Snap became the home of left-wingers.
And while liberals have criticized Facebook for denying fact-checking political advertisements – and even threatening to sabotage social media platforms – several prominent conservatives have secretly met with Zuckerberg , Which includes Tucker Carlson, Sen. Lindsey Graham and, on at least one occasion, Trump himself. Zuckerberg has not disclosed the contents of those meetings.
Matt Getz did not respond to Salon’s request for comment. Facebook declined to comment.