Rep. Matt Gaetz Files Criminal Referral Against Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg

Mark Zuckerberg drinking
Getty/Chip Somodevilla

Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) has filed a criminal referral against Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg for making materially false statements to Congress while under oath at two separate joint hearings in April 2018, according to a statement released by the congressman on Monday.

“Zuckerberg repeatedly and categorically denied his company engaged in bias against conservative speech, persons, policies, or politics and also denied that Facebook censored and suppressed content supportive of President Donald Trump and other conservatives,” read the statement by Rep. Gaetz of the Facebook CEO’s conduct during the congressional hearings.

The congressman went on to say that in June, James O’Keefe and the investigative journalists at Project Veritas revealed evidence to the contrary.

“Project Veritas published the results of an undercover investigation featuring two whistleblowers who worked as Facebook’s ‘content moderators,’ revealing that the overwhelming majority of content filtered by Facebook’s AI program was content in support of President Donald Trump, Republican candidates for office, or conservatism in general,” added Gaetz in his statement.

“This alone is already an indication of bias within the platform,” he added.

Gaetz says that he now “questions Zuckerberg’s veracity, as well as his willingness to cooperate with the House’s oversight authority,” suggesting that the Facebook CEO has been “diverting congressional resources during time-sensitive investigations, and materially impeding our work.”

“Such misrepresentations are not only unfair, they are potentially illegal and fraudulent,” affirmed Gaetz.

Therefore, Gaetz is now referring Zuckerberg to the DOJ for an investigation into the alleged false statements made to Congress by Zuckerberg while under oath.

The congressman wrote to U.S. Attorney General William Barr on Monday, urging him to investigate the Zuckerberg’s conduct.

“Facebook’s AI screening content is not politically neutral,” wrote Gaetz in his letter to Barr. “Neither are the moderators hired to review content flagged by the AI program. This stands in opposition to Mr. Zuckerberg’s congressional testimony and violates the ‘good faith’ provision of Section 230(c)(2)(A) of the Communications Decency Act.”

“Accordingly, I respectfully refer Mr. Zuckerberg to the Department for an investigation of potential violations of 18 U.S.C. §§1001, 1505, and 1621 for materially false statements made to Congress while testifying under oath,” he added.

You can follow Alana Mastrangelo on Twitter at @ARmastrangelo, on Parler at @alana, and on Instagram.

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