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Zuckerberg asked during Senate hearing whether Facebook coordinates censorship with Twitter, Google

Zuckerberg stated that the companies do not coordinate their policies.

Updated: November 18, 2020 - 8:28am

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Sen. Josh Hawley questioned Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg on Tuesday about whether the social media giant coordinates content moderation with fellow tech giants Google and Twitter.

Hawley said that a whistleblower who was a former Facebook employee had contacted his office. The Missouri Republican said that there is "an internal platform called TASKS" which the social media company "uses to coordinate projects including censorship."

The company utilizes TASKS "for people coordinating all kinds of work across the company," Zuckerberg said, adding that he was unsure that he would concur with the description Hawley gave regarding content moderation. 

"What particularly intrigued me is that the platform reflects censorship input from Google and Twitter as well," Hawley later stated. "So Facebook, as I understand it, Facebook censorship teams communicate with their counterparts at Twitter and Google and then enter those companies' suggestions for censorship onto the TASK platform so that Facebook can then follow up with them and effectively coordinate their censorship efforts."

The senator then asked Zuckerberg, "does Facebook coordinate its content moderation policies or efforts in any way with Google or Twitter?"

Zuckerberg said while the businesses engage in coordination on certain fronts, each company makes its own choices regarding content moderation.

"We do coordinate on and share signals on security related topics," such as a "signal around a terrorist attack or around child exploitation imagery or around a foreign government creating an influence operation," Zuckerberg said. "But I think it's important to be very clear that that is distinct from the content moderation policies that we or the other companies have where once we share intelligence or signals between the companies each company makes its own assessment of the right way to address and deal with that information."

Hawley pressed Zuckerberg about whether Facebook engages with the other companies regarding blocking content and coordinating policies.

"Is it your testimony that you do not communicate with Twitter or Google about content moderation, about individuals, websites, phrases, hashtags to ban?" Hawley queried. "Just yes or no, do you communicate with Twitter or Google about coordinating your policies in this way?"

Zuckerberg stated that the companies do not coordinate their policies.

"Do your Facebook content moderation teams communicate with their counterparts at Twitter or Google?" Hawley pressed.

"Senator I'm not aware of anything specific but I think it would be probably pretty normal for people to talk to their peers and colleagues in the industry," Zuckerberg said.

 

 

 

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