- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Rep. Matt Gaetz asked Attorney General William P. Barr on Monday to have the Department of Justice investigate whether Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg lied under oath to Congress.

Mr. Gaetz, Florida Republican, wrote Mr. Barr to raise concerns about statements Mr. Zuckerberg made when he appeared on Capitol Hill twice in April to testify about Facebook.

Citing reporting from sting-group Project Veritas, the congressman suggested Mr. Zuckerberg may have misled lawmakers when he asserted his social network does not suppress or otherwise censor content supportive of conservatives including President Trump.

“Mr. Zuckerberg repeatedly and categorically denied any bias against conservative speech, persons, policies or politics,” Mr. Gaetz wrote. “Mr. Zuckerberg also dismissed the suggestion that Facebook exercises any form of editorial manipulation.

“However, recent reports from Project Veritas, featuring whistleblowers who worked as Facebook’s ‘content moderators,’ have shown ample evidence of such bias and manipulation,” wrote Mr. Gaetz, a staunch ally of the president who serves on the House Armed Services, Budget and Judiciary committees.

Released by Project Veritas in June, the video included an interview with Zach McElroy, a former Facebook content moderator, as well as footage he secretly recorded on the job.

“Project Veritas’ undercover footage shows that a great deal of ‘political speech’ supporting the President was labeled ‘hate speech,’ or was considered in violation [of] Facebook’s ‘Community Standards,’” Mr. Gaetz wrote to Mr. Barr. “At the same time, speech promoting violence against the President and his supporters was labeled as merely ‘political,’ and was thus allowed to stay on the platform.”

Mr. Gaetz, a lawyer, ended the letter by asking the Justice Department to investigate if Mr. Zuckerberg made materially false statements in front of Congress while under oath in violation of federal perjury and obstruction laws.

“Oversight is an essential part of Congress’ constitutional authority,” Mr. Gaetz concluded. “As a member of this body, I question Mr. Zuckerberg’s veracity, and challenge his willingness to cooperate with our oversight authority, diverting congressional resources during time-sensitive investigations and materially impeding our work. Such misrepresentations are not only unfair, they are potentially illegal and fraudulent.”

Facebook did not immediately return a request for comment. The company previously said the comments included in the Project Veritas video “are not consistent with our policies.”

• Andrew Blake can be reached at ablake@washingtontimes.com.

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