There are vital questions that need to be asked. Here they are.
Facebook’s CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, testified before Congress on Tuesday. A whole heap of them were softball questions.
The toughest questions were from three Republican Senators.
Watch Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-AK) question Zuckerberg on entrepreneurship, regulation and whether Facebook is a tech company or a publisher:
Watch Sen. Ben Sasse (R-NE) ask Zuckerberg to define ‘Hate Speech’ — which Zuckerberg repeatedly said that Facebook was actively attempting to eliminate:
Despite these pretty good grillings, there were still 6 ginormous questions not asked.
1. What is Facebook’s definition of “fake news”?
Zuckerberg didn’t define it as no one has asked him the question. He’s committed to fighting it, though.
He’s also said that the platform is going to promote ‘quality news’.
In particular, Zuckerberg has said he wants to decide what is “quality news” and promote it to users, while the company’s head of news partnerships says they now have a “point of view” on quality news. That sounds far more like a publisher, with an editorial line (a “point of view”) than a neutral platform.
This leads to a host of other questions like:
- Why are conservative news sites rarely included in ‘Trending Stories’ despite those stories being some of the most popular on Facebook?
- Why does Facebook seem to only use progressive, Soros-funded and Clinton Foundation-funded ‘fact-checkers’? Are there conservative ‘fact checkers’ that Facebook uses?
- After the Gizmodo article that Sen. Cruz referenced exposing Facebook’s suppression of conservative news stories in its trending news stories, Facebook then changed the feature to only trend content from ‘established’ media outlets. Is Facebook attempting to stomp out new media publishers to prop up Corporate Media?
And so many more…
2. What kind of content “makes people feel unsafe,” and why is it banned?
When speaking with Sen. Cruz, Zuckerberg said that there were content reviewers censoring content that made people feel ‘unsafe’ without clearly defining what that is.
When Sen. Sasse asked using the example of abortion, it became clear that Zuckerberg, and Facebook doesn’t have a clear line on what is ‘safe’ and ‘unsafe’ content.
That needs to be clarified as anything these days can be deemed ‘unsafe’ to wussified snowflakes.
3. Will Facebook be transparent?
This is twofold.
- Users want to know who has access to their information and what they are using it for.
- Who has Facebook banned and why.
If @facebook really cares about not looking like a censor. They should post all blocked and banned posts/users in a special area that is viewable by a select group of diverse Americans. Right, left, and all types of social groups. Transparency!
— Brad Parscale (@parscale) April 10, 2018
4. Why are American users compelled to follow European hate speech rules on the country’s monopoly social media provider?
Facebook is massive with over 2 billion users. Why are we adopting ‘hate speech’ rules on an open platform?
When questioned by Sen. Sasse, Zuckerberg refused to give a clear definition of hate speech, lamely opining that the term referred to different types of speech in different countries. This is unacceptable – Facebook wants to ban hate speech on its platform, yet its CEO can’t even define what it is! If it means different things in different countries, Congress should ask Zuckerberg what it means in America, and why citizens governed by the first amendment shold be expected to avoid it.
5. Did Facebook give special favors to the Obama campaign in 2012?
This is critical.
Barack Obama’s former director of media analytics, Carol Davidsen, says that Facebook allowed them to harvest data on the “entire social network of the U.S.” in 2012. The Republicans, said Davidsen, never built an app at the same time to do the same thing, and Facebook shut off the feature before they could do so. Furthermore, Davidsen says that Facebook representatives visited Obama’s offices after the 2012 election, where they admitted that Obama had been allowed to “do things they wouldn’t have allowed someone else to do, because they were on our side.”
6. Why was Palmer Luckey fired?
This was covered by Sen. Cruz, and Zuckerberg claimed that it wasn’t because of ‘political bias’. But here’s why it is a significant question.
Thanks to James Damore’s lawsuit against Google, the issue of political discrimination (especially in Silicon Valley) is big and getting bigger. Zuckerberg conceded to Sen. Cruz that Silicon Valley is a “very left-leaning place,” but firmly rejected the idea that Palmer Luckey had been fired because of his support for Donald Trump.
Google denies that they fired Damore for political reasons too, but no-one believes them. In Palmer Luckey’s case, we have a man who single-handedly revived the VR industry with his Oculus headset, which became one of the most successful Kickstarter-funded projects in history, and was later sold to Facebook. Oculus is now one of the most talked-about gaming brands, and spawned competing products from Sony, Valve, and HTC. If Facebook didn’t fire him because of the leftist backlash over his pro-Trump views, why did they fired him? Zuckerberg didn’t tell the Senate, but he should be asked again. And again.
We need to know why Palmer Luckey was fired if it wasn’t because of ‘political bias’.
Now, let’s hope that we get answers to at least these questions before Zuckerberg finishes testifying before Congress!
C’mon, Republicans, let’s do this!
by Doug Giles
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