Counter Extremism Project On Upcoming Facebook Hearing: Time To Answer For Platform Misuse

Facebook, Tech Leaders Must Be Held Accountable

New York, NY – The Counter Extremism Project (CEP) today called on members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, which has confirmed Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to testify in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, to finally force answers to questions about a record of platform misuse. CEP has long-advocated for lawmakers on Capitol Hill to hold tech companies accountable for their actions, including the proliferation of extremist content online.

“As the flagship of the Silicon Valley armada, Facebook has used its leadership role in the tech consortium they’ve created, along with the extensive resources at their disposal, to forestall legislative attempts to regulate the entire tech industry for years,” said CEP Executive Director David Ibsen. “From the Cambridge Analytica scandal, where the private data of more than 50 million Americans was abused, to the proliferation of fake and manipulated media content, to the promulgation of terrorist and extremist propaganda, Facebook’s predictable pattern of denial and half-measures are no longer enough. We call on members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee to finally get answers and hold Facebook accountable for the misuse of its platform.” 

While lawmakers on Capitol Hill have worked to hold tech companies accountable in the recent past, such as during the U.S. Senate Commerce Committee Hearing “Terrorism and Social Media: Is Big Tech Doing Enough?”, the House Energy and Commerce Committee must now go farther in its upcoming hearing. Facebook is failing at protecting the privacy of its users. Similarly, it is not doing enough to curb the extremist content that incites violence against innocent Americans on its platforms. When called out for its actions, Facebook’s responses demonstrate a complete lack of transparency and deliberate obfuscation – hallmarks of an industry that fosters an attitude that it is somehow above or immune to the same laws and regulations governing others.

BACKGROUND

Facebook Is Considered By Many To Have Unrivaled Influence & Success Within The Tech Industry & Silicon Valley:

  • Facebook Is An “Undisputed Ruler” In Silicon Valley And Consumer Technology Industry. (Farhad Manjoo, “Tech’s ‘Frightful 5’ Will Dominate Digital Life For Foreseeable Future,” The New York Times, 1/20/16)
  • “Facebook Is The Undisputed King Of The Tech Industry Now.” (Matt Rosoff, “Facebook Is The Undisputed King Of The Tech Industry Now,” Business Insider, 8/2/15)
  • “Facebook Keeps Amassing Greater Power In That Most Fundamental Of Platforms: Human Social Relationships.” (Farhad Manjoo, “Tech’s ‘Frightful 5’ Will Dominate Digital Life For Foreseeable Future,” The New York Times, 1/20/16)
  • “It Is Difficult For Americans To Escape The Technology Industry’s Influence In Everyday Life.  Facebook Inc. Reports That More Than 184 Million People In The United States Log On To The Social Network Daily, Or Roughly 56 Percent Of The Population.” (Joanna Piacenza, “Why The Public Overlooks And Undervalues Tech’s Power,” Morning Consult, 3/15/18)
  • “For Years, Tech Industry Insiders And Analysts Have Marveled At The Success And Influence That Facebook Founder Mark Zuckerberg Has Achieved.” (Sarah Halzack, “Facebook’s Leadership Team: Silicon Valley’s ‘Young Guns’,” The Washington Post, 2/2/12)
  • “Growing At Scale Is The Holy Grail Of Business Leadership – And This Feat Alone Makes Zuckerberg An Easy Choice For Fortune’s Businessperson Of The Year For 2016.” (Adam Lashinsky, “The Unexpected Management Genius Of Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg,” Fortune, 11/10/16)
  • “The 32-Year-Old Facebook CEO Took Facebook From Campus Experiment To A Social Network Of Unprecedented Scale And Size.” (Lisa Eadicicco, Alex Fitzpatrick, Matt Peckham & John Patrick Pullen, “The 20 Most Influential People In Tech Right Now,” TIME, 5/10/17)
  • “Facebook Will Lead A Surge In Tech Stocks Next Year With A 30 Percent Gain, Evercore ISI Says.” (Thomas Franck, “Facebook Will Lead A Surge In Tech Stocks Next Year With A 30 Percent Gain, Evercore ISI Says,” CNBC, 12/6/17)
  • “At WSJ Tech Conference, Executives Tout New Video Tools In Development; Operating Chief Sheryl Sandberg Says Social Media Giant Is Platform For All Ideas.” (Deepa Seetharaman, “Facebook Leaders Call It A Tech Company, Not Media Company,” The Wall Street Journal, 10/25/16)
  • “With A Hands-Off Government, A New Form Of Digital Capitalism Was Born, Enabling The Rise Of ‘Winner Takes All’ Businesses, Which Dominate Entire Continents Within The Digital Economy … Facebook In Social Networking.” (Emily Kutchinsky, “Facebook: ‘The Undisputed Leader In Mobile Advertising’,” The Guardian, 9/3/17)

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Fact:

On September 23, 2021, the Houthis began a siege on Marib’s al-Abdiyah district, sparking a humanitarian crisis as the rebels blocked medical and other humanitarian aid. Aid workers on the ground accused the Houthis of committing genocide by denying access to humanitarian organizations and shelling hospitals and other vulnerable civilian targets.   

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