Republican Colorado Rep. Ken Buck is demanding that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg explain the social media giant’s censorship of content related to the COVID-19 lab-leak theory.
“Facebook has had the embarrassing position of having to defend its censorship of legitimate content,” Buck wrote in a Thursday letter, obtained exclusively by the Daily Caller. Buck referenced the alleged racism of the lab-leak theory, as well as a report claiming that Facebook and Instagram, are primary methods of online sex trafficking.
Facebook “remove[s] content that facilitates or coordinates the exploitation of humans, including human trafficking,” which it defines “as the business of depriving someone of liberty for profit.” In some cases, content seeps through the moderator’s cracks, and on other occasions, content is removed that doesn’t violate Facebook’s standards.
“Much of the content Facebook censored under the pretense of combating misinformation about COVID-19 was related to the theory that the virus could have leaked out of the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV). Facebook quickly eradicated this theory from the public discourse amidst criticism—including from the propaganda arm of the Chinese Communist Party—that the theory was racist,” Buck wrote.
Zuckerberg emailed the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease (NIAID) director, Dr. Anthony Fauci, on several occasions about Facebook content related to COVID-19. During the pandemic, Facebook labeled content associated with the lab-leak theory “misinformation,” but no longer does so.
The letter also notes Facebook’s decision to ban reporting based on Hunter Biden’s laptop, calling the company’s concern leading to “unconditional erasure of reports that were damaging to then-candidate Joe Biden regarding his son, Hunter Biden … unfounded.” (RELATED: EXCLUSIVE: Rep. Jim Banks Demands Answers From Facebook Over New York Post’s Reporting On Hunter Biden)
Buck calls the “misalignment of values” that causes Facebook to “polic[e] speech that is Constitutionally protected” while “fail[ing] to effectively screen illegal and exploitive content … deeply disconcerting.”
A report from The Human Trafficking Institute found that “59 percent of online victim recruitment in active sex trafficking cases occurred on Facebook.”
Facebook did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller’s request for comment.
Zuckerberg testified to the House Energy and Commerce Committee that he supports amendments to Section 230, the law that regulates internet content publishers and producers. Zuckerberg’s preferred regulations would require larger platforms, like Facebook, to “have systems in place for identifying unlawful content and removing it. Platforms should not be held liable if a particular piece of content evades its detection.”
Buck slammed the proposal, saying it “would codify the status quo and fail to address the issues that are pervasive across Facebook.”
A critic of big tech companies, Buck called for the federal government to break up Facebook after its Oversight Board ruled that former President Donald Trump would remain suspended from the platform for two years. He frequently takes aim at Apple’s use of slave labor in China.
Read the letter here: