First Republican Senator Calls for Breakup of ‘Dangerous’ Facebook: ‘End It’
Facebook's moderation guidelines continue to upset lawmakers on both sides of the aisle. Republican Senator Josh Hawley of Missouri will be the first GOP Senator on Saturday to openly call for the company to be wound up.
"I've had enough. Break up Facebook already. It's time," Hawley tweeted. "I fought Facebook over censorship of pro-lifers, censorship of independent media (like the New York Post), and censorship of conservative commentators. "Facebook is dangerous because Facebook is a MONOPOLY - with unprecedented power over communication. End it."
Hawley's comments were fueled by Facebook when a post was deleted from The Babylon Bee, a right-wing satirical site similar to The Onion. The post, which editor-in-chief Kyle Mann tweeted, joked that Senator Mazie Hirono, a Democrat from Hawaii, wanted to weigh Supreme Court candidate Amy Coney Barrett against a duck "to see if she was a witch." Mann said the post was removed from Facebook for violating "community standards", despite not being told what the exact violation was, and that Facebook threatened to limit monetization of future posts.
Mann did not immediately respond to TheWrap's request for comment.
Also read: Sacha Baron Cohen: "I had to sound the alarm" on Facebook's dealings with Holocaust deniers
"If that means Congress needs to change [and] update antitrust laws, so be it," Hawley added.
(Antitrust experts have previously told TheWrap that measures against Facebook within the framework of current legislation may lead nowhere. More information on the subject can be found here.)
Hawley isn't the first member of Congress to target Facebook in the past few months. Most notably, Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) Suggested last year that Facebook, Amazon, and Google separate during her bid for the Democratic nomination for president. She compared the current technology landscape to a modern Gilded Age, in which smaller companies cannot compete with the main players.
"We must stop this generation of big tech companies from using their political power to shape the rules in their favor and using their economic power to wipe out or buy out any potential competitor," Warren said. Warren's relationship with Facebook soon became even more icy when Facebook briefly pulled out their ads calling for the company's liquidation.
Also read: FCC to clarify legal protection for Twitter and Facebook when moderating content
Warren also impaled Facebook's moderation guidelines, including a decision not to check political ads for fact. Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, responded to complaints from Warren and others that he would rather let users determine what is true and what is not than the company.
"I believe that in a democracy it is really important that people see for themselves what politicians are saying so that they can make their own judgments," Zuckerberg said last December. "And I don't think a private company should censor politicians or news."
Facebook and Twitter are also close this week to consider processing a New York Post report on Hunter Biden.
The report said Biden introduced his father, former Vice President and current Democratic candidate Joe Biden, to a "top manager" of a Ukrainian energy company before pressuring Ukrainian lawmakers to dismiss a prosecutor who was dealing with the Company deals. However, the story has been questioned by many established news outlets because it was based on unauthenticated emails extracted from Hunter Biden's computer, according to a post - which has also not been proven.
Shortly after the story was published, Facebook said the report would be "reduced" in users' newsfeeds. Twitter went further, preventing users from sharing the "potentially harmful" story, as a Twitter warning label put it. Twitter said the story was blocked for violating its guidelines on sharing hacked material. Twitter reversed its decision later in the week. CEO Jack Dorsey said he took the "wrong" approach.
At this point, however, companies were already exposed to a lot of heat. Trump-appointed FCC chairman Ajit Pai said Thursday the commission would review Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which gives tech companies full legal protection to censor and moderate content on their platforms. This, along with the antitrust concerns of Hawley and others, put Silicon Valley in the crosshairs of Washington, D.C.
Read the original story The First Republican Senator Calls for Dangerous to Be Disbanded Facebook: "End It" at TheWrap
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