Conservative Groups Ratchet Up The Heat On Big Tech Companies Over Their Ties To The SPLC

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Several conservative groups wrote letters to Google and Amazon Wednesday urging the Silicon Valley giants to back away from the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) after recent reports suggested the left-wing nonprofit group works to scam liberal donors out of money.

Google, Facebook, Amazon and other Silicon Valley companies need to explain where they stand, Media Research Center (MRC) President Brent Bozell said in a press statement attached to the letter. His letter comes after Twitter told The Daily Caller News Foundation on April 7 that the company no longer uses SPLC to help censor hate speech on its platform.

“Two weeks ago, we issued open letters to the CEO’s of Facebook, Twitter, Google and Amazon urging them to cut ties with the corrupt, anti-conservative, anti-Christian Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC),” Bozell said. “Since then, it’s been reported that Twitter has severed ties with the organization. It’s time they publicly confirm or deny this. If true, we commend them for taking action.”

He added: “We ask the CEOs of these tech giants again — will your company continue to align itself with an anti-conservative, anti-Christian organization accused of harboring systemic racism or will you do the right thing and publicly sever ties? We await your response.”

The letter was signed by a slew of conservative groups, including Leadership Institute President Morton Blackwell and Young American Foundation President Robin Robinson. Three of the four letters contained identical language urging Google CEO Sundar Pichai, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, and Amazon founder Jeff Bezos to publicly state if their companies are still linked to the SPLC.

MRC’s letter to Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey included verbiage noting that a Twitter representative anonymously told TheDCNF that the company “is not a member of Twitter’s Trust and Safety Council or a partner the company has worked with recently.” The letter asks Dorsey to make a formal announcement of his company’s intentions to ding the group.

All four companies have a history with the group. Google, for one, was dinged in 2018 for using the SPLC to assist YouTube in policing content on its platform, which uses the group and more than 100 non-government organizations (NGOs) and government agencies to flag content. Google has also not yet responded to TheDCNF’s requests for information.

Amazon granted the SPLC broad policing power over the Amazon Smile charitable program. “We remove organizations that the SPLC deems as ineligible,” an Amazon spokeswoman told TheDCNF in 2018. Amazon grants the SPLC that power “because we don’t want to be biased whatsoever,” she said at the time.

Facebook used the group extensively. The SPLC is on a list of “external experts and organizations” that Facebook works with “to inform our hate speech policies,” company spokeswoman Ruchika Budhraja told TheDCNF in June 2018.

MRC’s renewed push comes after The New Yorker published an essay from former SPLC staffer Bob Moser in March accusing the group of “ripping off donors” while ignoring sexual harassment and racial discrimination within its own ranks. The group fired co-founder Morris Dees on March 13 over unspecified conduct issues.

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