Facebook is slowly revealing the extent of former Republican Arizona Sen. Jon Kyl’s audit into accusations that the company discriminates against conservatives.
Kyl has talked to more than 130 of the country’s top conservative groups to determine how Facebook’s policies are affecting them, company spokesman Andy Stone said in a statement to the Daily Caller News Foundation. The Republican’s audit was slowed after he was appointed to serve out the remainder of former Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain’s term.
“The team is now meeting with people from Facebook’s policy and product teams to gain a better understanding of Facebook’s internal and external policies as well as our products and services,” Stone added. Kyl’s committee has not yet released a public report, nor has it made any recommendations.
Kyl’s office has not responded to the DCNF’s request for comment.
Facebook’s apparent foot-dragging on publishing the results of the audit comes as President Donald Trump and other conservatives consider whether big tech needs more scrutiny. (RELATED: Facebook Stays Mum On Accusations Of Conservative Bias As Trump Bears Down)
The audit is more than a year in the making. A Facebook representative told Politico reporters in 2018 that the company would complete the audit and publish findings “early next year.” Meanwhile, the company published an update on June 30 to a parallel civil rights audit, which contained some eye-brow raising recommendations.
Auditors with more than 90 civil rights groups suggested Facebook’s current ban of explicit white nationalism should be expanded to include content that supports the ideology even if the term white nationalism is not used. Facebook banned explicit expressions of white nationalism in March, marking a significant change in policy.
Trump and Republican lawmakers are fleshing out ways to reign in Facebook, Google and Twitter before they become too big to regulate. The president invited a slew of conservative activists to the White House to discuss how social media companies are affecting their livelihoods.
PragerU, the Heritage Foundation and the Media Research Center (MRC) were among a handful of groups invited to the July 11 social media summit. PragerU previously filed suit against Google, YouTube’s parent company, in federal court, claiming the Silicon Valley giant’s restrictions on its content violates California law governing freedom of speech.
That suit lost at the district level and is currently pending on appeal before the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Brent Bozell, the co-founder of MRC, for his part, previously asked the Department of Justice to investigate Facebook, Google and Twitter.
“I applaud the DOJ for heeding our call. Online giants Google, Facebook and Twitter wield unprecedented power to shape public opinion and even directly influence elections,” Bozell said in June following reports suggesting the DOJ is considering ways to open antitrust probes against Google.
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