Sen. Marsha Blackburn of Tennesee accused Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey of abusing their power, silencing conservatives, and fueling cancel culture with their companies’ constant censoring of users.
Blackburn explained during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing Tuesday that federal law, specifically Section 230, has enabled social media companies to grow without facing lawsuits or legal ramifications.
“You have used this power to run amok. You have used it to silence conservatives. You have used it to build your list. You have used this power to act like you hold all the power that you can make these decisions,” Blackburn said. “You have driven this canceled culture because you have not called to account your moderators. You have refused to take responsibility for your employees and their actions.”
Blackburn lectured Zuckerberg on the dangers of blacklists targeting certain groups of people.
“Mr. Zuckerberg, do you think there is something wrong with an un-American blacklist tarring people from future employment, simply because they belong to a different political party?” Blackburn asked.
“Senator, I generally agree that people should not be discriminated against because of political beliefs,” he replied.
Blackburn quickly pointed out that, despite Zuckerberg’s reported feelings on political discrimination and hit lists, Facebook regularly censors conservatives.
“You say you don’t keep a list. Obviously, you have a list, because there are some of us who are regularly censored and called down by your content moderators,” she said, noting that one of her recent Facebook posts discussing the Trump Accountability Project which is creating a blacklist of people who staffed for, donated to, or even endorsed President Donald Trump and his administration, was slapped with an “elections flag sticker.”
Blackburn continued to echo her colleagues Sens. Mike Lee, Ted Cruz, and Josh Hawley in requesting that Facebook release its formulated censorship lists.
“Do we want to see this list? Yes,” Blackburn said. “How have you built these lists? We want to know.”
“You have refused to take responsibility for your employees and their actions so thereby reining you in on the issues of privacy, data security, content moderation, liability protections, defining who is a publisher in the virtual space, that is up to us because you have proven you do not have the will, the strength, the ability, and you will not accept the responsibility to do it for yourselves,” she continued.