Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., on Tuesday, grilled Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg about a recent whistleblower complaint that the social media giant coordinates with Twitter and Google about some content moderation decisions.
During Tuesday’s Senate hearing on the handling of disinformation of election information by Facebook and Twitter, Hawley told Zuckerberg that a former Facebook employee “with direct knowledge of the company’s content moderation practices” reached out to his office about an “internal platform called Tasks that Facebook uses to coordinate projects, including censorship,” Fox Business reported.
“The platform reflects censorship input from Google and Twitter, as well,” Hawley said. “Facebook censorship teams communicate with their counterparts at Twitter and Google and then enter those companies’ suggestions for censorship onto the Task platform so that Facebook can follow up with them and effectively coordinate their censorship efforts.”
Hawley tweeted out a screenshot of a Task page later Tuesday.
“Ever wonder how a user banned or locked on one platform often gets quickly banned or locked on the others?” he asked in a series of tweets. “This is how Whistleblower says @Twitter and @Google routinely suggest censorship topics – hashtags, individuals, websites, many of them conservative – and @Facebook logs them for follow-up on Tasks. But Zuck REFUSES under oath to turn over list of @Twitter or @Google mentions on Tasks”
Zuckerberg testified that Facebook uses Tasks for “people coordinating all kinds of work across the company.” He later said that the company does “coordinate on and share signals on security-related topics,” including “a terrorist attack or around child exploitation imagery or around a foreign government creating an influence operation.”
Hawley asked whether the three companies coordinate on “individuals, websites, hashtags [or] phrases to ban.”
“Senator, we do not coordinate our policies,” Zuckerberg replied, but later added he would expect “some level of communication.”
Hawley also asked Zuckerberg about a program called Centra that the whistleblower said Facebook uses “to track its users, not just on Facebook, but across the entire internet.”
“Centra tags different profiles that a user visits, their message recipients, their linked accounts [and] the pages they visit around the web that have Facebook buttons,” Hawley said. “Centra also uses behavioral data to monitor users’ accounts, even if they’re registered under a different name.”
Facebook told Fox Business that it uses Centra to centralize and help investigations into complex subjects.