Hawley Reveals Existence of Coordination Tool Used By Big Tech Firms to Censor Users & Facebook Tool to Covertly Track Users Across Internet

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

In a U.S. Senate Judiciary hearing today with Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Senator Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) revealed an internal tool used by Facebook, Google and Twitter to coordinate the censorship of users. Senator Hawley also revealed an internal tool used by Facebook to track the actions of users across the internet that was previously believed to be private. The use of the internal tools was disclosed to Senator Hawley by a whistleblower from Facebook.

At the hearing, Senator Hawley outlined the use of Tasks, a tool Facebook uses to improve the workflow of Facebook employees, but is also used by Facebook employees to collaborate with Google and Twitter in censoring users across platforms, and a second tool called Centra that Facebook uses to track users even when they think they are anonymous.

Senator Hawley questioned the CEOs on whether Facebook used the Tasks platform to coordinate in their censorship of users. Senator Hawley also questioned Zuckerberg on how many accounts in the U.S. have been subject to a shutdown through Centra, whether Facebook makes a record of instances in which employees access users’ private data without their consent, and whether doing so triggers an audit.