Today, Wednesday, October 23, 2019, U.S. Congressman Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5) questioned Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg on whether social media companies should buck U.S. law and allow Foreign Terrorist Organizations and affiliated profiles to maintain accounts and spew violent extremist content.
Yesterday, Gottheimer, along with a bipartisan group of lawmakers, called on Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey to stop blatantly violating U.S. law, to immediately change their policy, and to remove all content from Foreign Terrorist Organizations and affiliated content, including Hamas and Hezbollah, by November 1st.
“This issue is of particular importance to me, since individuals connected to Hamas and Hezbollah terrorists were recently found in my home state of New Jersey. Mr. Zuckerberg, do you agree with Twitter that Foreign Terrorist Organizations designated by the U.S. belong on a social media platform or should Twitter have to take down Hamas and Hezbollah’s affiliated accounts and content?” Congressman Josh Gotthiemer asked during today’s hearing. “It sounds like, yes, you believe Hamas and Hezbollah, and other terrorist groups, as designated by the United States, should have to take down their content just like you have taken steps at Facebook to do so?”
“Congressman, as a principle, I think all American companies should comply with American law,” Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg responded.
“While I greatly appreciate that Facebook has taken the steps to remove terrorist content from your platform, I am still concerned the violent extremist content still exists in parts of your platform. For example, today there are still videos circulating on Facebook of the horrific shootings in Christchurch in New Zealand. I assume that troubles you, sir?” Gottheimer asked.
“Congressman, of course that troubles me. We build really advanced systems to detect all these different types of harm and to take action very quickly. In general, this is an area where we have invested billions of dollars and have tens of thousands of people working on this,” Zuckerberg responded. “It’s not that we are ever going to do a perfect job but a lot of what I am committed to is that every six months now we publish a transparency report on how we are doing, proactively identifying each of the categories of harm that exist and what the prevalence of them in our services, what percentage our system proactively identify versus someone had to report to us.”