Wednesday, September 18, 2019

President Trump: Investigate Google and Facebook

PO Box 130
West Shokan, NY 12494
September 18, 2019

The President
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington, DC  20500

Dear Mr. President:

Recent allegations* concerning interference in American elections by Facebook and Google suggest that they may have violated and may plan to violate various sections of election law. For example, political advertisers are required to disclose the person or organization responsible for political advertising, yet Facebook does not disclose itself as a source of political advertising.  As well, Google's slanted search results are undisclosed political advertising.  Recently, editor-in-chief of Psychology Today  Dr. Robert Epstein  testified that Google and Facebook have manipulated elections.  This is more extreme than election advertising, but it can be subsumed under its rubric.  

I urge the Justice Department to investigate and if violations are found to criminally prosecute Facebook and Google management, including Messrs. Zuckerberg, Brin, and Page, if there is evidence of failure to comply with federal election law.

As well, because the two tech firms pose a threat to American democracy, shuttering and sequestering their sites prior to upcoming elections may be appropriate.  Facebook in general may have deleterious effects on American society. While Google's technology is better than its competitors', the harm from its ham-handed and possibly criminal actions exceeds the limited social benefits from its technology.


Mitchell Langbert, Ph.D.

*This letter also was sent via the Internet

Cc:  The Honorable William P. Barr, Attorney General
Ms. Ellen West,  Vice President of Communications and Public Affairs, Google
Ms. Sheryl Sandberg, COO, Facebook