Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) sent a letter to Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg regarding the company’s alleged cooperation with Iran in suppressing dissent from the Iranian people. The letter cites news reports that one of Meta’s subsidiaries, Instagram, may have sided with Iran’s leaders and removed documentation of the regime’s violent crushing of peaceful protests. The letter asked Zuckerberg to confirm whether any of Meta’s companies or subsidiaries censored any information of the protests and whether any Meta employees or subsidiaries accepted bribes from anyone affiliated with the Iranian government.
Full text of the letter may be found here and below.
September 28, 2022
Mark Zuckerberg, Chief Executive Officer
Meta Platforms, Inc.
1 Hacker Way
Menlo Park, CA 94025
Dear Mr. Zuckerberg,
News reports indicate that at least one of your company’s subsidiaries, Instagram, may have removed documentation of the Iranian regime’s vicious attempts to crush recent peaceful protests. This is particularly concerning given prior allegations that Iran attempted to bribe your content moderators to remove accounts that challenged or criticized the Iranian regime. As the CEO, founder, and majority shareholder, you are ultimately responsible for Meta’s actions. Please respond to the following questions no later than October 3, 2022:
1. Did Instagram or any other Meta company (including Whatsapp) remove any images or videos of the protests or restrict accounts sharing information about the protests?
a. Was any such censorship conducted at the request of the Iranian government?
2. Have any employees of Meta or its subcontractors received or accepted bribes or other payments from any representative or proxy of the Iranian government?
3. Did anyone in your organization or any third-party content moderator responsible for removing information about the protests receive any bribes or other payments from Iranian intelligence services?
4. Is it the official position of Meta or any of its subsidiaries to support or cooperate with dictatorships and violent extremist regimes?
5. What specific steps are you taking to reestablish the accounts that were deleted or disabled during the ongoing protests?
6. What specific steps are you taking to ensure that protestors in Iran continue to have access to your products as they showcase the truth about the Iranian regime?
I look forward to your prompt and detailed responses.