Sen. Lummis: The Issue With Facebook Is ‘Not About Free Speech as Much as It Is About Privacy’

Megan Williams | October 6, 2021 | 12:25pm EDT
Text Audio
00:00 00:00
Font Size
Sen. Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.)  (Getty Images)
Sen. Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.) (Getty Images)

(CNS News) -- When asked if Facebook should be allowed to restrict speech on its platforms, Senator Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.) said, “I’m more focused on privacy than I am other ways to regulate them. So, for me, it’s not about free speech as much as it is about privacy.”

At the U.S. Capitol on Tuesday, CNS News asked the senator, “Should Facebook be able to restrict speech on its platform?”

Lummis replied, “I’m just going to that hearing now, and one of the questions that I intend to ask Ms. Haugen is, given her technical background and how they use their algorithms, what is the best way to regulate protections for young people?”

“So, the emotional damage that is occurring because of the manner in which they market to young people,” said Lummis.  “And their admission that their method is to increase profits by keeping people on their platform for longer periods of time, therefore allowing them to gather more information on children -- how can we best protect privacy?”

“So, I’m more focused on privacy than I am other ways to regulate them. So for me it’s not about free speech as much as it is about privacy.”

Leading up to the 2020 elections, Facebook was placed in the spotlight for its apparent mishandling of information, specifically its push to censor conservative voices on its platform.

Facebook’s censorship, for instance, was displayed through its shutting down of the Hunter Biden Laptop story by the New York Post. Last October, the New York Post released a story regarding a laptop -- believed to be Hunter Biden’s -- that contained sensitive information about the Biden family’s dealings with Ukranian businesses.

(Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

However, Twitter and Facebook decided to censor and “dial down” the story’s spread because they alleged the story was unverified. Both platforms restricted re-postings of the story, did not allow the story to be direct messaged, and blocked the New York Post from posting.

“The newspaper with the fourth-leading circulation in the United States and big tech asserted the power to just silence them because they didn’t like what they were reporting,” Senator Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) said. “I think it’s really dangerous.”

Following this scandal, the CEOs of both Facebook and Twitter were called into a Senate Judiciary Hearing and were questioned on their company’s processes for censoring posts and users.

“There are instances in which your platforms are taking a very distinctively partisan approach, and not a neutral one, to election content moderation,” Senator Mike Lee (R-Utah) said.

(Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Conservative organizations and users have seen a trend in the censorship of right-of-center content as well. Media Research Center (MRC) President Brent Bozell issued a statement alongside more than 20 conservative leaders condemning Facebook’s failure to address censorship concerns.

“Facebook has listened to the conservative movement’s complaints and in response has invited us to pound sand,” the statement read.

(Disclosure: CNS News is a division of the MRC.) 

mrc merch