Sen. Cruz: By Providing Transparency, the FCC Can Transform Congress Ability to Address Big Techs Pattern of Political Bias & Censorship
June 24, 2020
WASHINGTON, D.C. - With Big Tech at it again - this time censoring President Trump's tweet against violent anarchists taking over the nation's capital - today U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), member of the Senate Commerce Committee, urged members of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to provide real transparency on Big Tech's pattern of political bias and censorship. This comes after Sen. Cruz blasted Google in a letter for its "transparently politically motivated" move to target the conservative media outlet, The Federalist. Watch Sen. Cruz's remarks and full line of questioning here. Excerpts are below.
On Big Tech's bias against conservatives, Sen. Cruz said:
"We have been seeing in recent years, and in recent months, and even in recent weeks, growing assumptions of power from Big Tech. To censor, to shadow ban, to silence views with which they disagree. Just within the last two weeks, we saw Google at the behest of a foreign advocacy group threaten to ‘demonetize' The Federalist, a conservative online journalistic outlet."
"Yesterday we saw Twitter decide to censor and block a tweet from the President of the United States that said that an autonomous zone, a lawless autonomous zone, will not be able to be created in Washington, D.C. and if anyone attempts to do so, law enforcement will stop them. [Twitter] deemed the President, pledging to protect public safety and stop the creation of a lawless zone in our nation's capital - Twitter deemed that abusive and so put a content block on it."
On Big Tech's lack of transparency, Sen. Cruz said:
"Something else that complicates this challenge, is there's an utter lack of transparency. If one asks, and I have asked representatives from Google, from Facebook, from YouTube, from Twitter, over and over and over again, ‘How many posts are you blocking? How many posts are you throttling? Are you just reducing the number of people who see them?' They won't answer that.
"There are zero data that exists about comparative blocking. In other words, bias. I've asked the questions, very simple questions. [...] They refused to answer these questions. They then respond, ‘Well there are no data showing our bias.' Because the only source of the data is the black box of their internal file. No one else has that information but Google, and YouTube, and Facebook, and Twitter."
Sen. Cruz concluded, urging the FCC to provide real transparency on Big Tech's pattern of political bias:
"If the FCC were able to do one thing, and simply provide real transparency so the American people can see how many people are being silenced, how many people are being shadow banned, who and what the relative ratios are, that would transform the ability to address this problem. So transparency would be a very valuable thing to focus on."
As chairman of the Senate Judiciary's Subcommittee on The Constitution and a member of the Senate Commerce Committee, Sen. Cruz is leading the fight in the Senate to hold Big Tech accountable for their biased censorship of conservatives on social media. That's why Sen. Cruz has:
- Chaired multiple hearings with representatives from Twitter, Facebook, and Google, where he raised his concerns about the technology companies engaging in a disturbing pattern of political censorship.
- Heard testimony from Dennis Prager of PragerU, whose videos are routinely censored on YouTube, and Dr. Robert Epstein, a psychologist who testified that Google's biased search results swung a minimum of 2.6 million votes to Hillary Clinton in 2016.
- Sent a letter to U.S. Trade Representative, Ambassador Robert Lighthizer, urging him to remove language in U.S. trade agreements similar to Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which provides "near -blanket legal immunity" to technology companies.
- Wrote an op-ed in The Hill in response to Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey's announcement last week banning all political ads from the platform, calling the move "profoundly harmful."
- Sent a letter to Google CEO Sundar Pichai raising concerns about Google's latest actions to censor political speech with which it disagrees.