Senate Republicans Get Back to Work…Grilling Facebook

Oh, this is rich.

The US Senate Commerce Committee—which has jurisdiction over media issues, consumer protection issues, and internet communication—has sent a letter to Mark Zuckerberg requesting answers to questions it has on its trending topics section. The letter comes after Gizmodo on Monday reported on allegations by one former news curator, who worked for Facebook as a contractor, that the curation team routinely suppressed or blacklisted topics of interest to conservatives. That report also included allegations from several former curators that they used a “injection tool” to add or bump stories onto the trending module.

If I was Zuckerberg, I’d be tempted to consider some spicy language with which to suggest what Sen. John Thune and his Republican friends on the Commerce Committee might consider doing with their questions. Either that or tell them that I’d answer the questions as soon as the same ones were posed to Fox News. I certainly wouldn’t be able to stop myself from pointing out that it was Republicans who insisted on the revocation of the Fairness Doctrine.

It is truly amazing to watch this Party that constantly extols the virtue of “freedom” and their love of the Constitution (First Amendment anyone?) feign outrage that social media isn’t under their control.

Then there’s this:

A spokesman for Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) slammed Thune for launching the probe.

“The Republican Senate refuses to hold hearings on Judge Garland, refuses to fund the President’s request for Zika aid and takes the most days off of any Senate since 1956, but thinks Facebook hearings are a matter of urgent national interest,” Adam Jentleson wrote in an email.

“The taxpayers who pay Republican senators’ salaries probably want their money back.”

In 2014, when Majority Leader Mitch McConnell promised that he’d get the Senate working harder again, I don’t think this is what voters had in mind.

Nancy LeTourneau

Nancy LeTourneau is a contributing writer for the Washington Monthly. Follow her on Twitter @Smartypants60 .