Mazie Hirono Wants DOJ to Investigate Claims that Facebook Retaliated Against Critics
Senator Mazie Hirono (D-HI) penned a letter to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein urging him to expand any investigation into Facebook and Cambridge Analytica to include whether Facebook -- or any other entity affiliated with or hired by the social media giant -- hid information and retaliated against critics or public officials seeking to regulate the platform. The social media company admitted on Wednesday that a top executive hired a public relations firm to attack George Soros and undermine critics by publicizing their association with the billionaire Jewish philanthropist. The NYT reported last week that Facebook took significant steps to retaliate and spread disinformation about people who have criticized the company, which, if not properly disclosed, may have campaign finance implications. Joined by Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), and Chris Coons (D-DE), Hirono made the point that consumer data is at risk. “Since the 2016 election, both the government and Facebook’s own internal investigations have revealed that the company failed to adequately protect the data and trust of its 2.2 billion users. Facebook also failed to implement basic protocols to prevent manipulation by foreign adversaries working to undermine America’s political system,” the Senators wrote. “Given the staggering amount of data that Facebook has collected on both its users – even people who have not consented to use of the platform – these allegations raise profound concerns about the company’s willingness to protect the public and our democracy,” they continued. Embattled CEO Mark Zuckerberg told CNN he did not know about the concerted Soros attacks. Patrick Gaspard, who heads the Soros Foundation, says he finds it hard to believe that an attack like this wasn’t cleared at the highest levels. Read the full letter here.