The heads of five significant technology companies were served subpoenas by the Republican-led House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday. The subpoenas are asking for documentation and details regarding their material moderation procedures.
GOP Defends Free Speech
Asking for documents referencing or connected to censorship, elimination, repression, limitation, or decreased dissemination of information, Chairman Jim Jordan sent subpoenas to the CEOs of Alphabet, Apple, Amazon, Facebook parent company Meta, and Microsoft.
Documents detailing the personnel in charge of creating or enforcing content guidelines, as well as any correspondence with individuals just outside of the executive branch regarding such rules or choices concerning content moderation, were also required by the summons.
Jordan stated in the letters attached to the summons that the commission’s inquiry into claims of cooperation with the executive branch to silence conservative viewpoints will make use of the materials that were being sought.
Jordan also commended Twitter for an initiative known as the Twitter Files, in which its CEO, Elon Musk, disclosed confidential memos outlining how the firm addressed a news story on Hunter Biden in 2020.
He asserted that Congress now needs to assess the extent to which comparable activities occurred at the five summoned corporations.
House Republicans have zero plans to lower inflation, or do anything about the border, because they're too busy trying to regulate private companies, and social media platforms, and yet they gutted the EPA, because they've been bought by corporate money. https://t.co/uklnN4v0rC
— Shelly R Kirchoff (@ShellyRKirchoff) February 16, 2023
According to the mailings, the paperwork must be turned in by March 23. Microsoft was interacting with the panel, according to a spokeswoman.
The representative stated they have begun releasing papers, are involved with the panel, and are dedicated to operating in good conscience.
The four additional firms have been contacted by NBC News for a response. The Biden government is the subject of inquiries being conducted by House Republicans, informally and directly.
Worry less about content moderation and more about care at HCA Florida Bayonet Point in Hudson, Florida where cost cutting measures are putting patients lives at risk!!!! @GOPhttps://t.co/DsbezrA1Yj
— WindyWyoming (@windy_wyoming_) February 16, 2023
This month, Jordan issued summons requesting documents pertaining to meetings of school boards across the nation from Attorney General Merrick Garland and FBI Director Christopher Wray to the Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona.
Tech corporations have been charged by Jordan and his Republican supporters with stifling First Amendment-protected freedom of opinion by partnering with the government to remove content.
Conservatives on the House Oversight and Accountability Committee criticized ex-Twitter workers at a session last week regarding similar accusations centered on content moderation choices.
Democrats and the group of former Twitter employees replied that private corporations are protected by the First Amendment when they decide how to moderate their own material.
Democrats also criticized Republicans for exploiting the session as a distraction from their personal political agenda.
Hunter Biden in the Spotlight
The New York Post piece on President Biden’s son, Hunter Biden, was the subject of much of the session the other week, which focused on Twitter’s management of choices to control its dissemination.
Conservatives have been decrying social media platforms in general over claims that they are restricting right-wing material, citing postings and identities that are deleted when they break the social networking platforms’ own rules.This article appeared in The Patriot Brief and has been published here with permission.