WASHINGTON, D.C. – Following up on his sweeping oversight investigation into Big Tech, Commerce Committee Ranking Member U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) today sent letters to social media companies Meta, Google, and TikTok, blasting their failure to adequately answer his initial requests for information regarding these companies’ use of recommendation algorithms to filter and curate online material.
As Sen. Cruz wrote to TikTok, and similarly to Meta and Google:
“The American people have a vested interest in the policies and practices that govern their speech on large social media platforms. To this end, it is disappointing that your response runs counter to Tik Tok’s public commitment to greater transparency. As content moderation has grown in both scale and complexity, the need for sunlight—particularly on politically-charged moderation questions—has become an imperative.
“In light of such public interest, increased congressional oversight of social media companies, and pending Section 230 litigation at the Supreme Court, it is essential that Tik Tok responds substantively to congressional requests, especially from this Committee, which has jurisdiction over key industry issues like Section 230 and data privacy[…]
“Your failure to adequately respond suggests that TikTok believes it has no obligation to cooperate with congressional oversight or to provide any modicum of transparency to the American people.”
Meta, Google, and Tik Tok each failed to answer 18 out of 20 specific questions from his February 13, 2022 letter concerning the scope of these companies’ content recommendation systems, the effect on distribution of content, manual intervention into the recommendations process, how political speech is treated, and what protocols for transparency and due process currently exist regarding these algorithms.