Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) accused the CEO of Facebook in a hearing on Tuesday, Nov. 17, of coordinating with Twitter and Google the censorship of websites, people, and hashtags through internal tools, which came to the Hawley’s attention thanks to a former Facebook employee who provided evidence.
“In recent days my office was contacted by a Facebook whistleblower, a former employee of the company, with direct knowledge of the company’s content moderation practices, and I want to start by talking about an internal platform called Tasks,” said Hawley.
Hawley, known for his tough stance against the Silicon Valley giants and their selective censorship, presented a screenshot of the platform, which was provided by the whistleblower.
According to Hawley’s description, the Tasks platform allows Facebook’s “community wellbeing, integrity, and hate speech” teams to communicate with their Google and Twitter peers on projects they are working on together.
“What particularly intrigues me is that the platform reflects censorship input from Google and Twitter as well,” Hawley said.
Hawley asked Zuckerberg if his staff took suggestions from Google and Twitter to censor individuals, websites and hashtags, to which he responded that he was not aware of a coordination in censorship.
When Hawley asked if he could provide the committee with a list of all the times Google and Twitter are mentioned on the platform, Zuckerberg avoided a straightforward answer and preferred to say that he would be happy to do so after speaking with his staff.
“Let everybody take note that Mr. Zuckerberg has now repeatedly refused to provide information that he knows that he has and has now acknowledged that he has the Task [platform] under oath,” shot the Senator, tired of the businessman’s refusal.
Finally, Hawley presented another screenshot as evidence of another internal Facebook tool called Centra, which monitors its users even more aggressively.
Hawley explained that with Centra, Facebook records the activity of its users all over the internet; it checks the photos they tagged, the websites they visited that have Facebook buttons, the messages users sent to their friends, their profiles, and more.
“Centra tags different profiles that a user visits, their message recipients, their linked accounts [and] the pages they visit around the web that have Facebook buttons,” Hawley said. “Centra also uses behavioral data to monitor users’ accounts, even if they’re registered under a different name.”
According to Hawley Facebook uses Centra to review the behavior of users it wants to ban or block.
When Hawley asked Zuckerberg if he could provide a list of audited accounts, the response was elusive, and he refused to commit under oath.
During President Trump’s legal battle against the Democrats over election fraud, both Facebook and Twitter censored the president’s posts on similar grounds. Google stopped showing results from conservative news websites, leaving the public with the only options of knowing where to find critical information or submitting to mainstream media that definitely have a leftist agenda.