Republican Congressman Matt Gaetz of Florida’s 1st District is a close ally of President Donald Trump. He’s also been an outspoken critic of social media companies’ political bias against conservatives and been on the receiving end of “censorship.”
Twitter hid one of Gaetz’ tweets under a “warning” about violating policies against promoting violence in June 2020. The tweet read: “Now that we clearly see Antifa as terrorists, can we hunt them down like we do those in the Middle East?”
Gaetz was also on the receiving end of a Twitter shadowban in 2019. A Twitter crackdown on abusive accounts somehow diminished visibility of four politicians — all Republicans — were affected.
As a member of the antitrust subcommittee of the House Judiciary Committee, Gaetz has been part of a year-long antitrust investigation into Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google. He is also working with other Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee to draft legislation removing Section 230 liability protections if social media companies fail to remain neutral.
- Gaetz worked on legislation to take away immunity from social media companies that become arbiters of information through fact-checking. He signed on as a cosponsor to the Stop the Censorship Act of 2020. This came shortly after Twitter began fact-checking Trump in the summer of 2020.
- He challenged Google CEO Sundar Pichai on July 31, 2020, on previous claims that the company doesn’t “manually” alter search results and said Google is “engaging in election interference.” Gaetz cited company memos leaked to The Daily Caller contradicting Pichai listing a number of conservative sites on a deceptive news blacklist.
- Gaetz criticized Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos over the company’s use of the left-wing Southern Poverty Law Center to decide AmazonSmile eligibility. Bezos admitted it’s “imperfect” and he was open to suggestions. Gaetz recommended a “divorce from the SPLC.”
- The congressman filed a criminal referral about Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg with the Department of Justice in July 2020. He argued Zuckerberg made “materially false statements” under oath in congressional hearings in April 2018, when the CEO denied suppressing or censoring conservative content. His DOJ complaint stemmed from findings of a Project Veritas investigation of Facebook content moderators.
- Speaking about antitrust and big tech in 2020, Gaetz said, “When you look at the power that these technologies have to define society, and life, and commerce, and speech, it simply cannot be ignored.”
- In July 2019, a Twitter effort to crackdown on abusive accounts temporarily hid four Republican Congressmen including Gaetz, and Reps. Devin Nunes, Mark Meadows and Jim Jordan. “I don't know what Twitter is up to,” Nunes said. “It sure looks to me like they are censoring people and they ought to stop it, and we're looking at any legal remedies we can go through.” Believing that suppressing four Republicans’ voices was “illegal,” Gaetz filed a complaint with the Federal Election Committee against Twitter arguing it essentially gave a kind of contribution to Democrats.
- In 2018, Republicans and Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee agreed Facebook needed to pull down pages bullying shooting survivors and calling for violence. Gaetz asked company reps why the “Milkshakes Against the Republican Party” page had not been removed after it suggested attacks like the Congressional baseball shooting “should happen every week.”
Contact Rep. Matt Gaetz: 202-225-4136, email, 1721 Longworth House Office Building, Washington, DC 20515