Josh Hawley Presses Facebook, Twitter on 'Coordinated Censorship,' Tracking Users
Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) submitted questions Tuesday to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey regarding their “coordinated censorship” and tracking of their users across the Internet.
Hawley revealed during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing that Facebook uses a tool, called Tasks, that is allegedly used to collaborate with Google and Twitter to censor users across platforms.
Hawley also revealed the existence of a tool called Centra that tracks users across the Internet even when they believe they are anonymous.Senate Judiciary Committee
“Your companies are the most powerful companies in the world, and I want to talk about how you’re coordinating together to control information,” Hawley said during the hearing.
Hawley torched Zuckerberg during the hearing for dodging questions regarding the Tasks and Centra programs, charging it is time to take action against the “modern-day robber barons.”
Subsequently, Hawley sent follow up questions regarding the Centra and Tasks programs to Zuckerberg and Dorsey.
10 more questions for the record for Mark Zuckerberg and @jack following their testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee. The public deserves details on @Facebook’s “Centra” tracking platform. And on Big Tech coordinated censorship pic.twitter.com/5ZL17lpmxu
— Josh Hawley (@HawleyMO) November 24, 2020
Hawley asked Zuckerberg:How many entries in Facebook’s Tasks tool pertain to content moderation and reference contacts at Google?How many entries in Facebook’s Tasks tool pertain to content moderation and reference contacts at Twitter?How many entries in Facebook’s Tasks tool pertain to content moderation and reference contacts or information from the Southern Poverty Law Center?Please provide a list of all hashtags, URLs, and real-world individuals that Facebook has banned across its platform, along with notations of whether the impetus for the ban stemmed from contacts with employees at Twitter, Google, or the Southern Poverty Law Center.How many accounts in the United States has Facebook surveilled or shut down using the Centra tool?When a Facebook employee accesses a Facebook user’s private messages, that access is allegedly tracked and audited. How many such audits were conducted by Facebook during fiscal year 2019?A November 23 article in the Financial Times, entitled “Facebook plans charm offensive for Joe Biden” reported that “[c]ompany executives are planning a major push to encourage users to take a coronavirus vaccine, as well as incentivising people to share content related to the Paris climate agreement, which Joe Biden has promised to rejoin, in the hopes of winning favour in Washington.” Please describe all steps Facebook intends to take to encourage users to share content related to the Paris climate agreement.Please explain how any advocacy by Facebook for rejoining the Paris climate agreement would be consistent with Facebook’s self-description as a “platform” and not a “publisher.”
Hawley asked Dorsey:Does Twitter have a policy prohibiting its employees from coordinating content moderation decisions with outside companies such as Facebook or Google, where such moderation is not strictly required by law?Please provide a list of all hashtags, URLs, and real-world individuals that Twitter has banned across its platform.
“10 more questions for the record for Mark Zuckerberg and @jack following their testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee,” Hawley wrote on Tuesday. “The public deserves details on @Facebook’s ‘Centra’ tracking platform. And on Big Tech coordinated censorship.
Sean Moran is a congressional reporter for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter @SeanMoran3.