On Tuesday afternoon, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg sat in the hot seat while Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) grilled him on issues related to his massive social media platform.
Cruz started by asking Zuckerberg, “Does Facebook consider itself a neutral public forum?” Zuckerberg responded, “We consider ourselves to be a platform for all ideas.”
“There's certain content that clearly we do not allow. Hate speech. Terrorist content. Nudity. Anything that makes people feel unsafe in the community. From that perspective, that's why we generally try to refer to what we do as a platform for all ideas.”
Cruz wasn't too happy with his response and stated, “It's just a simple question.” He asked, “Do you consider yourself a neutral public forum? Or are you engaged in political speech, which is your right under the First Amendment?”
Zuckerberg responded, “Our goal is certainly not to engage in political speech.”
Then Cruz dropped the hammer.
"There are a great many Americans who I think are deeply concerned that Facebook and other tech companies are engaged in a pervasive pattern of bias and political censorship. There have been numerous instances with Facebook — in May of 2016, Gizmodo reported that Facebook had purposefully and routinely suppressed conservative stories from trending news, including stories about CPAC, including stories about Mitt Romney, including stories about the Lois Lerner IRS scandal, including stories about Glenn Beck.
In addition to that, Facebook has initially shut down the Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day page, has blocked a post of a Fox News reporter, has blocked over two dozen Catholic pages, and most recently blocked Trump supporters Diamond and Silk's page with 1.2 million Facebook followers after determining their content and brand were 'unsafe to the community.'
To a great many Americans, that appears to be a pervasive pattern of political bias."
Cruz added, “Are you aware of any ad or page that has been taken down from Planned Parenthood?”
Zuckerberg responded, “Senator, I'm not, but —”
Before he could finish responding, Cruz jumped back in.
“How about MoveOn.org?” he asked. “How about any Democratic candidate for office?”
“I'm not specifically aware,” Zuckerberg responded. “I'm not sure.”