Representative Ken Buck calls out Facebook for content censorship
Colorado Republican Representative Ken Buck is targeting Facebook, denouncing the social media giant’s decision to censor certain stories – such as The Post’s reporting on Hunter Biden and content about the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a letter to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Buck accused the website “of choosing to remove comments on these topics from the public eye in the supposed interest of public information security.”
The congressman alleged that Facebook was primarily purging conservative content from its platform – and urged the company to ensure that both sides of the aisle had an equal chance to be heard.
“Your business cannot selectively moderate content based on the political agenda of your business and its employees because Facebook has monopoly power in the market,” Buck said. written to Zuckerberg.
He warned that “stuffy ideas can backfire if they trick people into believing that there is a ‘real story’ that is being suppressed. ‘”
While the letter noted the considerable commitment that moderation of the site’s content entails to combat disinformation, it also noted that Facebook had reported several stories without a legitimate reason.
“In the first six months of the COVID-19 pandemic, Facebook deleted more than 7 million messages that allegedly spread misinformation about the virus, and your company placed context notes on more than 98 million messages that ‘she deemed potentially deceptive,’ wrote Buck Zuckerberg. “Monitoring Facebook and Instagram posts for COVID misinformation has been an undoubtedly Herculean task, but Facebook has vigorously taken up this challenge. “
Likewise, Facebook completely eradicated New York Post reporting of Hunter Biden from its platforms leading up to the 2020 presidential election on the grounds that the story was potentially inaccurate, ”Buck continued.
“However, in both of these situations, Facebook had the embarrassing position of having to defend its censorship of legitimate content.”
The letter says that “much of the content censored by Facebook under the pretext of fighting misinformation about COVID was linked to the theory that the virus could have escaped from the Wuhan Institute of Virology.”
“Facebook quickly eradicated this theory from public discourse amid criticism – including from the propaganda arm of the Communist Party of China – that the theory was racist,” Buck wrote.
He noted that “the evidence has continued to support that this theory cannot be so easily and summarily dismissed.”
“Likewise, the unconditional erasure of information prejudicial to then-candidate Joe Biden regarding his son Hunter Biden has since been proven to be unfounded,” Buck added.
The lawmaker went on to accuse Facebook of failing to deal with “illegal and sexually abusive content” and did not do enough for the platform to be used as a human trafficking tool.
“The company appears to have an astonishing lack of concern about the illegal and sexually abusive content that is widely permitted on your company’s platforms,” Buck wrote to Zuckerberg.
“Facebook has a rigorous speech control system in place that is constitutionally protected, but your company’s failure to effectively filter illegal and abusive content represents a misalignment of values that is deeply disconcerting. ”
Buck also noted Zuckerberg’s recent testimony to Congress where he discussed reforms to Section 230, the provision of the Communications Decency Act, which provides a legal shield to tech companies for the content of their websites.
“Recently, you testified before the House Committee on Energy and Trade. At that hearing, you argued for loosely defined reforms to section 230, saying the law should “make the immunity of the biggest platforms conditional on having a generally effective system in place to moderate content types. clearly illegal, ”the letter reads.
Buck said that while he believed legislative reforms on the issue were needed, he feared Congress would take “counterproductive actions.”
“Just because a company has a system in place to review potentially illegal content does not create any standard to ensure that that content is routinely removed from the platform,” he wrote. “I agree with you that no system is perfect, but if Congress passed your recommendation it would codify the status quo and not solve the ubiquitous problems on Facebook.”
Buck added, “I urge you to take the necessary steps to ensure that your platform is an open platform for the free and open exchange of ideas and a unwelcoming place for illegal and exploitative content.”