Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Florida) is asking Attorney General William Barr to file criminal charges against Facebook's Zuckerberg, accusing him of giving false testimony to Congress.
The testimony at issue took place in April of 2018 at a House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing and a joint hearing of two Senate committees. According to Gaetz, 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."
Gaetz says that testimony conflicts with two Facebook whistleblowers who spoke out this past June. They stated that they worked as “content moderators" at Facebook and that most of the content filtered by Facebook's artificial intelligence program was content supporting Trump, Republicans or conservatism in general.
You can read the announcement from Gaetz in full below:
Congressman Matt Gaetz Files Criminal Referral Against Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg
Washington, D.C. — Today, U.S. Congressman Matt Gaetz (FL-01) filed a criminal referral against Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg for making materially false statements to Congress while under oath during two joint hearings in Congress on April 10th, 2018 and April 11th, 2018.
During a hearing of the House Energy and Commerce Committee and also a joint hearing of the Senate Judiciary Committee and the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee, 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.
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.
“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.”
The letter refers Mr. Zuckerberg to the Department of Justice for an investigation into the false statements made to Congress while under oath.
Full text of the letter sent to Attorney General William Barr may be found HERE and below.
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.
Member of Congress
Ed H says
YES...and about time. I only hope in time for November.
It would be Awesome if Barr wasn't being controlled by the deep state. NO ONE is going to be punished under Barr.
Time to break up Facebook like Pullman, Southwestern Bell, etc. ... Private ownership is no excuse for running a huge monopoly that interferes with the First Amendment.
Not Chicken Little says
It's about time! Now let's see if anything happens. The elites, our de facto rulers, rarely suffer anything, not even embarrassment, for their criminal acts. If Barr and President Trump can change this and start punishing them, not only will Trump win re-election, he'll be written in by a grateful populace and win the next two elections, too! After all if more than two terms were good enough for Roosevelt...
Esp since the left and the GOP-e effectively took away much of his first term, when he would have accomplished even more of what we elected him to do.
Thanks, SA. You're considered a real hero in our household.
Barr is beginning to resemble Jeff Sessions. He talks a good game, but so far nothing has actually happened to any of the anti-Trump perpetrators.
Barr will do nothing because he is worthless.
Sessions.2.0. Trump serves at the leisure of the senate who approve his AGs. Senators serve the state, not the voters
Thank God for answered prayer.
Steve Jones says
This made me smile. 🙂
Barr will do squat, he’s another con job. 100 days till the election and this guy can’t even hand out parking tickets for the biggest scandal in US history, the attempted coup of a sitting POTUS something they EXECUTE people for in other countries. This scumrat Soros has everybody in his back pocket, traitors are everywhere.
steve green says
Prosecute the lying, money grubbing pew or watch for the inevitable street justice that WILL occur.
Justice delayed is justice denied!!!
Someone proof read, please.
"Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Florida) is asking Attorney General William Barr to file criminal charges against Facebook's Accusing Zuckerberg of giving false testimony to Congress."
Or is "Accusing Zuckerberg" his new name?
Great - now do Jack Dorsey. As with all toothless things Senatorial/Congressional, I'm SURE these Sternly Worded Letters have these zillionaires quaking.
scott norris says
Seriously? It took 2½ years to start looking at charges when 100% of intellectually honest Americans KNEW Zuckerturd was lying when he said he didn't censor conservatives?
They'll never do anything to him. Just more political theater, only not directed at the President this time.
Ron Lawrence says
None of this matters unless he is charged. I expect nothing.
Remove their protection from liability. The law says they are protected because they 'do not censor or suppress free speech' - well they are.
Big deal, Barr won't do anything. I'll still be thrown off again next week. They hate me for some reason. I must remind them too much of their worm fathers.
KJ Wray says
Seems to me that lying to congress was enough to jail Roger Stone. What's good for the goose is good for the gander. Drain the swamp
This meme that was altered by cropping out everything except the page photo landed me with a 30 day ban for violating community standards, no words just the page. I lean right and their ban stick is not only biased, but extremely stupid at understanding what things mean. https://pics.me.me/shared-patrick-mutuals-post-7-hrs-t-liberals-please-read-31580785.png
Phillip Morrison says
President Trump deserves a third term as president because thanks to the GOP, Rinos and the liberal democrat/liberal media cabal he never had a first.
Cardin Drake says
As much as I'd like to believe the DOJ will do something about Zuckerberg's obvious lies, I'm afraid perjury charges are reserved for people like Roger Stone. Between his wealth and his liberalism, the chances of him being charged are zero.
Doc Moore says
He needs votes, I guess. Does ANYONE imagine that Zuckerberg would knowingly lie to congress? Do you KNOW how many lawyers he has? Over 200. Do you have a guess about his IQ? Let's just say, way beyond yours. Is there ONE thing for him to gain by lying and putting himself and FB at risk? Name it...what's his payoff? This is the kind of irresponsible dribbling fart pebbles that makes people vote against idiotic Republicans. Embarrassing to the entire party.
The Naked Genius says
I, too, am filing a criminal referral against Zoidberg. It will be like a game to see whose referral goes nowhere first (my money's on Gaetz's)
Zola Holt says
Nothing a few FB "campaign contributions" can't fix. Congresspeople should wear big donor patches/logos on their suits - like NASCAR drivers - to show who they're really working for.
I'll believe this when I see it happen. So far, there's been a whole lot of talk and no action. We all know this has been happening since Adam took a bite of "The Apple" (or was it a Pomegranate since Apples aren't indigenous to Eden?)
So what. It's a referral, not an indictment, yet alone a trial. It is just virtue signalling to appease the masses.
but then I've not yet seen Barr put anyone in a courtroom, so I'm not exactly celebrating yet