Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg lied under oath to Congress, a Florida congressman alleges in a request to Attorney General William Barr to investigate the matter.
Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida filed a criminal referral against Zuckerberg that says Zuckerberg made “materially false statements to Congress while under oath” during two April 2018 hearings.
Gaetz announced his action Monday and posted a copy of his letter to Attorney General William Barr on his website.
A criminal referral from a member of Congress is not an indictment, but a request that the Justice Department investigate what the lawmaker believes to have been a crime.
At the core of Gaetz’s allegations is an undercover video from Project Veritas that showed employees of the company hired by Facebook to moderate flagged content saying that they zestfully censored conservative content.
The documentary included a quote from a content moderator who said, “If someone is wearing a MAGA hat, I am going to delete them for terrorism.”
Gaetz said in a statement that during his appearance before Congress, 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.”
The congressman then contrasted that with the behavior revealed by Project Veritas.
“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,” Gaetz wrote in his letter to Barr.
“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.’”
He said the Project Veritas documentary revealed a clear double standard, which is not what Zuckerberg talked about while testifying under oath to Congress.
For example, Gaetz cited “a corporate ruling that an illustration of a hand holding a knife slashing the throat of the President, captioned by ‘F— 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.”