GOP chairman ‘deeply disappointed’ Zuckerberg declined to testify at hearing

Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) said he was “extremely disappointed” Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg declined to participate in an upcoming hearing on online violence and extremism, Politico reported Friday.

In the Sept. 4 letter, Wicker reportedly urged Zuckerberg to “personally participate” in the congressional hearing, according to Politico.

“As a dominant social networking platform, Facebook has a significant role in the communications marketplace,” Wicker wrote. “Your direct engagement as the chief executive officer of Facebook on this issue will be invaluable to our efforts to protect communities and enhance public safety.”

Wicker reportedly indicated in the letter that he and Zuckerberg had already talked about how Facebook is working to remove extremist content from its platform, Politico reported.

Both Facebook and Wicker’s office did not immediately respond to requests for comment from The Hill.

The letter reportedly said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) had called on the Senate Commerce Committee to join a greater effort to address violence in the aftermath of multiple deadly mass shootings in recent weeks.

In the case of a shooting last month in El Paso, Texas, the alleged gunman confessed to targeting “Mexicans” and allegedly wrote a white nationalist manifesto, which was posted on anonymous messaging board 8chan, before fatally shooting 22 people and injuring dozens of others.

The owner of 8chan — which has been tied to three mass shootings by alleged white supremacists this year alone — testified on Capitol Hill on Thursday and defended his website to House staffers behind closed doors.

In June, Facebook, Twitter and Google defended their efforts to combat extremist content and misinformation online before House lawmakers, who reflected a dissatisfaction with the tech giants’ plans.

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