Rep. Gaetz Files Criminal Referral Against Facebook’s Zuckerberg For False Statements
Gaetz said those “materially false statements to Congress” were while Zuckerberg was under oath during two joint Congressional hearings on April 10th, 2018 and April 11th, 2018.
Zuckerberg’s materially false statements were made during with the House Energy and Commerce Committee and also during a joint hearing where he testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee and the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee, stated the press release.
Gaetz’s referral contends that “Mr. Zuckerberg repeatedly and categorically denied his company engaged in bias against conservative speech, persons, policies, or politics and also denied that Facebook censored and suppressed content supportive of President Donald Trump and other conservatives.”
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.
From Gaetz’s letter to AG Barr:
“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.”
Project Veritas published the results of its undercover investigation in June, which featured two whistleblowers who worked as Facebook’s “content moderators.” Those whistleblowers 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.”
If true, Zuckerberg’s company, which touts as being non-political, will be forced to face a criminal probe by the DOJ.
“Oversight is an essential part of Congress’ constitutional authority,” Congressman Gaetz states in the letter. “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.”
James O’Keefe, founder of Project Veritas, said in a Tweet that Gaetz’s decision came after his nonprofits expose on Facebook. This isn’t the first expose on social media giants. O’Keefe’s group has exposed similar actions taken against Trump supporters on Google, as well. This website also interviewed Google whistleblowers that have exposed bias inside their companies that led to serious concerns that the platform was being manipulated by the companies for political gain.
The letter refers Zuckerberg to the Department of Justice for an investigation into the false statements made to Congress while under oath.