Hawley accuses Facebook of coordinating with social media platforms to control information


Sen. Josh Hawley, Missouri Republican, on Tuesday accused Facebook of coordinating with other companies such as Twitter and Google to control what information appears on their platforms.

In testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg told Mr. Hawley that the companies did share information regarding signals and intelligence for security purposes affecting their platforms.

“We do coordinate on, and share signals on, security-related topics,” Mr. Zuckerberg said. “So for example, if there is signal around a terrorist attack or around child-exploitation imagery or around a foreign government creating an influence operation, that is an area where the companies do share signals about what they see. But I think it’s important to be very clear that that is distinct from the content moderation policies that we or the other companies have.”

Mr. Zuckerberg said the companies did not make collaborative content-enforcement policies, and he added that he would talk to his team and follow up with Mr. Hawley to get him information that he was seeking.

Mr. Hawley did not buy Mr. Zuckerberg’s responses and said the Facebook CEO’s answers were unacceptable, predictable, and more reason for the government to take action against “these modern-day robber barons.”

“What we have here is clear evidence of coordination between Twitter, Google, and Facebook, Mr. Zuckerberg knows he has the tools to track this, but he either doesn’t remember or won’t commit to letting us see it,” Mr. Hawley said. “We have evidence of Facebook tracking its own users all across the web. Mr. Zuckerberg won’t answer questions about it, can’t remember the name, isn’t sure if the tool is deployed in this way, and won’t commit to giving us basic information.”

Mr. Hawley sarcastically noted that he was amazed by how many witnesses testifying before the judiciary committee, “suddenly develop amnesia, maybe it is something about the air in the room.”

Mr. Zuckerberg was testifying via livestream and not in the same room as Mr. Hawley.

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