Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) sent a letter Wednesday to Google CEO Sundar Pichai questioning the giant tech corporation’s integrity and ability to “censor political speech it disagrees with.”
“This is part of a bigger problem. The culture of free speech in this country is under attack, and Google is helping lead the charge,” Cruz wrote. “Whereas Americans once understood that the best response to speech was more speech, some Americans, with the help of some of the most powerful companies on the planet, are now pressing to silence and punish those expressing views that do not align with the prevailing and ever-shifting progressive orthodoxy.”
The email is the result of concerns surrounding an report published by NBC that originally claimed The Federalist would be demonetized on Google Ads due to violations in an article published on their website “on content related to race.”
After facing massive backlash from the public for wrongly discriminating against The Federalist for criticizing the corporate media, Google later clarified that the alleged violation of policy was actually the user-generated comment section on The Federalist website and that the organization would have three days to fix the issue.
In his letter, Cruz points out the hypocrisy and irony presented by Google in this matter.
“Google’s decision to target The Federalist is transparently politically motivated,” noted Sen. Cruz. “Numerous ‘progressive’ media outlets allow comments, including, Huffington Post, Mother Jones, Daily Kos, Talking Points Memo, Wonkette, Slate, Jezebel, The Root, Salon, The Intercept, The Young Turks, and many others.”
He also noted that “on any given day, there are thousands of profane, racist, and indefensible comments posted on YouTube, which is a wholly owned subsidiary of Google.”
Cruz continued his letter by reprimanding Google for “abusing its monopoly power in an effort to censor political speech with which it disagrees” and naming a list of requests for Google to fulfill and provide information about to The Constitution Subcommittee of the Senate Judiciary Committee:
1. All communications in the past year between Google and the NBC News Verification Unit concerning The Federalist.
2. All communications in the past year between Google and the Center for Countering Digital Hate concerning The Federalist.
3. All internal communications or deliberations in the past year at Google or YouTube concerning The Federalist.
The letter also requested Google answer, in writing, by June 24, 2020, the following questions:
1. Has Google examined the comments sections of any of the “progressive” organizations listed in this letter and made any assessment whatsoever how they compare to the comments on The Federalist that were claimed as a basis for demonetization?
2.Will Google apply the same standards to all media organizations, or just those with which it has political disagreements?
3. Does Google believe Section 230 protects The Federalist? Why or why not?
4. If any offensive comments appear on YouTube, will Google begin immediately demonetizing its subsidiary? Within three days, the deadline given to The Federalist?
5. Is Google’s preferential treatment to YouTube, on far more favorable terms than those extended to The Federalist, consistent with the Sherman Act? Why or why not?