Lankford Presses Big-tech on Foreign Interference and China User Data Privacy, and Facilitating Illegal Border Crossing
CLICK HERE to watch Part 1 of Lankford’s Q&A on YouTube.
CLICK HERE to watch Part 1 of Lankford’s Q&A on Rumble.
CLICK HERE to watch Part 2 of Lankford’s Q&A on YouTube.
CLICK HERE to watch Part 2 of Lankford’s Q&A on Rumble.
CLICK HERE to watch Part 3 of Lankford’s Q&A on YouTube.
CLICK HERE to watch Part 3 of Lankford’s Q&A on Rumble.
WASHINGTON, DC – Senator James Lankford (R-OK) today took social media giants to task on their products censoring some voices, including conservatives, using and selling user data, and using their products to help facilitate illegal border crossing at our southern border, particularly in the process of human trafficking. In a two-panel Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee hearing today, entitled, “Social Media’s Impact on Homeland Security,” Lankford questioned executives from Tiktok, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and more.
Witnesses on today’s panels included: Alex Roetter, the Former Senior Vice President for Engineering (2014-2016) of Twitter; Brian Boland, Former Vice President (2018-2020) Partnerships Product Marketing, Partner Engineering, Marketing, Strategic Operations, & Analytics at Facebook; Geoffrey Cain, Senior Fellow for Critical Emerging Technologies at Lincoln Network; Chris Cox, Chief Product Officer at Meta; Neal Mohan, Chief Product Officer at YouTube; Vanessa Pappas, Chief Operating Officer at TikTok; and Jay Sullivan, General Manager of Bluebird at Twitter.
Lankford continues to hold social media companies and Big Tech accountable for their participation in public discourse in our nation and in some cases for facilitating illegal activity on their platforms. This week, Lankford joined Senator Steve Daines (R-MT) to lead a group of their colleagues to hold the CEOs of Instagram, TikTok, Snap Inc., and YouTube accountable for the illegal sale of fentanyl-laced pills to teenagers and young adults on their platforms, demanding to know what these platforms are doing to stop sales—a crisis created by President Biden’s southern border failed immigration policies. Lankford joined Senator John Thune (R-SD) and 24 of their Republican colleagues to introduce the Political Bias in Algorithm Sorting (BIAS) Emails Act. The straight-forward bill makes it illegal for Big Tech to automatically send emails to spam based upon a political preference and requires those companies publically disclose spam tactics that censor campaigns.
In April Lankford sent a letter to the Chief Executive Officer of Google Sundar Pichai regarding YouTube’s removal of videos from the Conservative Political Action Conference’s (CPAC) channel. YouTube, which is owned by Google, claims the videos contain “misleading information” but did not disclose what information was “misleading” to CPAC. Lankford participated in a panel at CPAC on Big Tech censorship during the February 2022 conference. He separately uploaded clips from his talk at the conference to YouTube, which have not been censored by Google, yet.
Lankford: You’ve all been very outspoken on dealing with sexual child predators, with different issues, drug trafficking. Those are all good things to be able to engage on. But it’s fascinating to me that the platforms have chosen to say there’s some illegal activities we’re okay with, in fact we’re going to facilitate—one of those is illegally crossing our southern border.
It’s not hard for me to go to YouTube, and I just type in, ‘How to cross the border illegally,’ and I get a video that says, ‘How to illegally cross the US-Mexico border.’ It’s had 1.7 million views, and it’s been there for two years. And yes I watched it, and it showed where to be able to cross, what highways to avoid, where the Border Patrol typically puts up stations, how to be able to look for different aspects. I mean it, in detail, shows a video of ‘Here’s how to illegally cross the Mexico-US border and where to be able to cross and how to avoid Border Patrol. This has been up for two years, and it’s had 1.7 million views.
As I mentioned on Facebook, Facebook has ads that I can actually show you that are human smugglers placing ads in Central America, so people will know how to be able to connect with them to be able to travel through Mexico to be able to pay the cartels, which are a ruthless drug organization, to be able to get into the United States.
My confusion on this is: I don’t understand why the platforms look at illegally crossing the border as, ‘we’re going to look the other way,’ when you’re user agreements say, ‘We don’t promote illegal activity’…except for this one. Help me understand why that’s different.
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