On Wednesday, the heads of Google, Amazon, Apple, & Facebook were grilled by the House Anti-Trust Committee.
Prior to this hearing, Rep. Matt Gaetz from Florida, asked the Department of Justice to investigate Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, for what he believes were false statements under oath before Congress in 2018.
Gaetz's office announce Monday that he had filed a criminal referral against Zuckerberg alleging the tech-giant CEO had made "materially false statement to Congress while under oath" during two joint hearings in April 2018.
Gaetz said Zuckerberg "repeatedly and categorically" denied Facebook "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."
However, Gaetz said a June 2020 report from the conservative Project Veritas had shown the majority of content filtered by Facebook's artificial intelligence program was content in support of President Donald Trump or other Republic candidates.
"Oversight is an essential part of Congress’ constitutional authority,” Gaetz said in a letter to U.S. Attorney General Bill Barr. “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.”
Project Veritas is a conservative media outlet that bills itself as an undercover "guerrilla journalist" that exposes corruption in public and private institutions, but has been criticized for largely misrepresenting what it reports.
Facebook has called previous reports by Project Veritas "stunts."
Gaetz said the Project Veritas report, which features undercover video of a purported Facebook "content moderator" saying if she sees someone in a 'Make America Great Again' hat, she "deletes them for terrorism."
And from Newsweek:
Gaetz said Zuckerberg "repeatedly and categorically denied" Facebook engaged in bias against conservatives or censored content supportive of President Donald Trump. However, a Project Veritas investigation revealed the "overwhelming majority" of content Facebook's artificial intelligence filtered was in support of Trump and other Republican people and ideals.
The Republican congressman sent a letter to Attorney General William Barr asking the Department of Justice to investigate Zuckerberg. The statements in question were made during a House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing and again at a joint hearing of the Senate Judiciary Committee and the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee.
"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."
Zuckerberg told senators at the April 10 hearing that he understood concerns legislators had about conservative censorship because Silicon Valley is an "extremely left-leaning place." He said he shared that concern and it's something he tries to root out in the company.
The next day, he responded to a question from Representative Steve Scalise by saying there was "absolutely no directive" to have a bias in "anything that we do."
"To the contrary, our goal is to be a platform for all ideas," Zuckerberg said.
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."
Gaetz wrote in the letter to Barr that the findings of the Project Veritas investigation were in "direct contrast" with Zuckerberg's testimony that Facebook was a "politically-neutral platform."
"Facebook's AI screening content is not politically neutral. Neither are the moderators hired to review content flagged by the AI program," Gaetz told Barr. "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."
Project Veritas typically publishes undercover videos.
If their reports were fraudulent or stunts, you better believe they would have been sued to Kingdom Come by now and put out of business.