GOP Reps Probe Zuckerberg, Meta For Hiding ‘Political And Social’ Content From Users’ Feeds

<> on September 11, 2012 in San Francisco, California.

Two Republican lawmakers are pressing Meta over a decision to proactively opt users out of having “political and social” content suggested to them on two of the company’s social media platforms.

Republican Texas Reps. August Pfluger and Dan Crenshaw wrote a letter to Mark Zuckerberg, Meta’s CEO and founder, and Javier Olivan, Meta COO, requesting information from the firm about its February policy decision to start actively shielding users from “political and social” content on Instagram and Threads, platforms owned and operated by Meta. The two lawmakers contend that Meta’s decision to do so is questionable because users are capable of choosing out content that they want to engage with, and because it hinders the flow of information to citizens about the actions of elected officials.

“Meta is making its own decisions on what content from their elected representatives a user sees rather than acting as a platform for all views. Your announcement mentions that this decision will not affect how a user views content. Conservative voices deserve the continued opportunity to use social media platforms such as Instagram to inform users of political and social issues, hold elected leaders responsible, and fight against disinformation,” the lawmakers wrote.

“It is crucial that company decisions do not undermine freedom of speech and expression. We believe that opting out of ‘political and social content’ is a decision that should be made by the user, not the platform,” they continued.

META Letter by Nick Pope on Scribd

Instagram is a popular photo- and content-sharing social media platform that is used by approximately 47% of American adults, according to Pew Research. Threads, meanwhile, is an extension of Instagram that is somewhat similar to X, formerly known as Twitter, and the platform has about 28 million daily active users in the U.S., according to The Washington Times.

The two legislators asked Meta to explain the timing of its decision, its definition for “political and social” content and whether similar guidelines exist for other types of content like certain advertisements, according to the letter. Pfluger and Crenshaw requested that the firm provide its answers by no later than July 5.

Meta’s decision “[applies] to public accounts and in places where we recommend content such as Explore, Reels, In-Feed Recommendations and Suggested Users – it doesn’t change how we show people content from accounts they choose to follow,” the company said in February. “If political content – potentially related to things like laws, elections, or social topics – is posted by an account that is not eligible to be recommended, that account’s content can still reach their followers in Feed and Stories.”

The company is in receipt of the letter, a Meta spokesperson told the Daily Caller News Foundation. The spokesperson added that the policy does not alter how the company shows users content from accounts they choose to follow, that it applies only to features where the company proactively suggests content for users to engage with and that there is an option to have “political and social” content suggested to them if they would like.

“Social media platforms have become vital tools for communication — allowing Members of Congress and other officials to engage directly with constituents,” Pfluger told the DCNF. “Limiting our ability to reach constituents undermines our service to the public and restricts citizens’ access to information about their government. I urge Meta to prioritize transparency and uphold the principles of free speech and open communication, ensuring that all voices, including those of elected officials, can continue to be heard.”


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