Congressman Matt Gaetz files Criminal Referral against Facebook
Social media chief is accused of perjuring Congress over mass censorship of conservatives. Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz (R) filed a criminal referral to Attorney General William Barr against Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg for perjuring Congress over systematic censorship of conservatives during testimony in April 2018.
Gaetz said Zuckerberg “repeatedly and categorically denied” Facebook engaged in bias against conservatives or censored content supportive of President Donald Trump.
In June of 2020 however, Project Veritas published the results of an undercover investigation featuring two whistleblowers who worked as Facebook’s “content moderators,” revealing that the overwhelming majority of content filtered by Facebook’s AI program was content in support of President Donald Trump, Republican candidates for office, or conservatism in general.
“As a member of this body, I question Mr. Zuckerberg’s veracity, and challenge his willingness to cooperate with our oversight authority, diverting congressional resources during time-sensitive investigations, and materially impeding our work,” Gaetz said in the letter. “Such misrepresentations are not only unfair, they are potentially illegal and fraudulent.”
Facebook’s censorship of conservative voice is nothing new
During Project Veritas’ undercover investigation, a Facebook content moderator said she would delete every Republican item that showed up on her queue. She added that she doesn’t remove anti-Trump content, even if it violates the policy.
“If someone is wearing a MAGA hat, I am going to delete them for terrorism,” another moderator said. “I think we are all doing that.”
According to Pew Research, 44% of US adults get their news from Facebook.
“Two-thirds of Facebook users access news on the social platform, and with 67 percent of U.S. adults active on Facebook, that translates to 44 percent of the overall U.S. population which accesses news on the social platform, the study said.” It goes on to further state that “A 2013 Pew report found that 47 percent of Facebook users went there for news. Today, 66 percent of Facebook users get news there, the study found.”
In this Gizmodo article, it points out that Facebook was artificially delisting conservative news while propping up more liberal stories. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out their motive here. Why else would they not want to be transparent in how they deal with fake news? Because it would show them removing conservative viewpoints.
Several individuals including one of the cofounders of Redpill.land complained of instances where Facebook promoted posts and articles supporting Democrats but rejected or removed praising Conservative policies and individuals.
Once of the recent victims of Facebook censorship includes Andrew Schulz whose viral monologues of Jeffrey Epstein and of Ghislaine Maxwell was taken down from Facebook and Instagram for “bullying and harassment.”
In one of the articles from Gizmodo former employees admitted to censoring conservative views. According to the article, conservative trending stories were being delisted and other stories were being artificially injected into trending news. Twitter has done this for a while where they mark information as “sensitive” and suspend and ban conservative accounts. You talk about a certain subject and if you fit the demographic, you’re going to be silently removed.
How Conservative Censorship Works
One example was when Facebook-Cognizant policy and training manager Shawn Browder told all the content moderators in Hartwig’s section for the 2018 Pride Month hate speech would be allowed to stay up if it was in support of the LGBTQ agenda
Jason point’s out in his medium article one of such examples of censorship as Steven Crowder of Louder with Crowder on CTRV. Facebook was censoring Crowder’s posts on Facebook and had a plethora of billing “issues” and no one from Facebook could explain why. This video from him does an excellent job at explaining the request of information lawsuit over the blatant censorship. Go watch if you have 20 minutes.
It’s not a shocker when the overwhelming majority of those in Silicon Valley supported Clinton and other democrats. I wish I was kidding but I’m not. These tech companies are not fond of conservatives and have never been.
In this day and age, social media companies will do whatever they can to silence us. They’re already doing it but now it will be done under the guise of “you’re advocating fake news” or “you align with someone who’s considered to be an extremist.” All they have to do is say: “You’re wrong, Snopes says so and we are removing your content and banning you from our platform.”
There are other instances of this continuing to happen across all other social media platforms. The good thing for us is that this isn’t the 1930’s and we won’t be silenced. With outlets like Gizmodo and individuals like Crowder doing their part in making sure to expose what sites like Facebook is doing, we will remain strong. We have many avenues to get our message out and it is impossible to stop us.
Full text of Matt Gaetz’s letter sent to Attorney General William Barr is reproduced below
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Dear Attorney General Barr:
I write to urge you to investigate the conduct of Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, Inc., before the United States Congress.
On April 10, 2018, Mr. Zuckerberg testified in a joint hearing of the Senate Judiciary Committee and the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee. The next day, Mr. Zuckerberg testified before the House Energy and Commerce Committee. On both occasions, members of Congress asked Mr. Zuckerberg about allegations that Facebook censored and suppressed content supportive of President Donald Trump and other conservatives. In his responses, Mr. Zuckerberg repeatedly and categorically denied any bias against conservative speech, persons, policies, or politics. Mr. Zuckerberg also dismissed the suggestion that Facebook exercises any form of editorial manipulation. However, recent reports from Project Veritas, featuring whistleblowers who worked as Facebook’s “content moderators,” have shown ample evidence of such bias and manipulation.
Two content moderators, Zach McElroy and Ryan Hartwig, both worked on the Facebook content review flow generated by Facebook’s artificial intelligence (AI) program for flagging questionable content. McElroy worked at the Facebook-Cognizant facility in Tampa, Florida and Hartwig worked at the Facebook-Cognizant facility in Phoenix, Arizona.
On June 23, 2020, Project Veritas published the results of an undercover investigation featuring the aforementioned whistleblowers. Their report revealed that the overwhelming majority of content filtered by Facebook’s AI program was content in support of President Donald Trump, Republican candidates for office, or conservatism in general. This alone is already an indication of bias within the platform.
Once flagged by Facebook’s AI, moderators reviewed the filtered content, and adjudicated whether it qualified as removable. According to the Veritas report and undercover footage, the adjudicators were outspoken about their political bias against Republicans, and actively chose to eliminate otherwise-allowable content from the platform and from public view simply due to its political orientation. This arbitrary and capricious behavior is not done in good faith, and falls outside of the express intent of §230 of the Communications Decency Act, which affords Facebook liability protection as long as the platform moderates content in “good faith.”
Additionally, these facts are in direct contrast to Mr. Zuckerberg’s testimony before Congress where he stated under oath that Facebook is a politically-neutral platform, and that he personally is working to root out any employees who are restricting speech based on Silicon Valley’s overwhelmingly leftist culture.
Project Veritas’ undercover footage shows that a great deal of “political speech” supporting the President was labeled “hate speech,” or was considered in violation Facebook’s “Community Standards.” At the same time, speech promoting violence against the President and his supporters was labeled as merely “political,” and was thus allowed to stay on the platform. For example, McElroy captured a shot of a Facebook corporate ruling that an illustration of a hand holding a knife slashing the throat of the President, captioned by “Fuck Trump,” would be allowed as political speech, despite being in clear violation of Facebook’s guidelines. In this case, the guidance to content moderators instructed them to watch for hostility directed at the gallery that posted the image.
Facebook’s AI screening content is not politically neutral. Neither are the moderators hired to review content flagged by the AI program. This stands in opposition to Mr. Zuckerberg’s congressional testimony, and violates the “good faith” provision of Section 230(c)(2)(A) of the Communications Decency Act.
Accordingly, I respectfully refer Mr. Zuckerberg to the Department for an investigation of potential violations of 18 U.S.C. §§1001, 1505, and 1621 for materially false statements made to Congress while testifying under oath.
Oversight is an essential part of Congress’ constitutional authority. Customarily, Congress is grateful to citizens who come forward with relevant information in good faith, as the aforementioned whistleblowers have done. As a member of this body, I question Mr. Zuckerberg’s veracity, and challenge his willingness to cooperate with our oversight authority, diverting congressional resources during time-sensitive investigations, and materially impeding our work. Such misrepresentations are not only unfair, they are potentially illegal and fraudulent.
I hope you will give this referral full and proper consideration. If you need further clarification, please contact my chief of staff, Jillian Lane-Wyant..
Member of Congress