House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) subpoenaed executives from Amazon, Apple, Meta, Microsoft and Google parent Alphabet on Wednesday for information about their communications with the government, leading the push House Republicans are stepping up to prioritize content moderation struggles in this Congress.
“We just subpoenaed Google, Amazon, Facebook, Microsoft and Apple over Big Tech’s reported collusion with the federal government,” Jordan tweeted Wednesday.
“Step one towards accountability.”
The subpoenas follow letters Jordan sent to the five companies in December as he prepared to take the reins as chairman with the GOP’s newly secured majority in the House of Representatives. Republicans on the Judiciary Committee said the companies “did not adequately address our demands.”
The subpoena requests the companies’ CEOs — Alphabet’s Sundar Pichai, Amazon’s Andy Jassy, Apple’s Tim Cook, Meta’s Mark Zuckerberg, and Microsoft’s Satya Nadella — to “remove documents and communications related to the federal government’s reported collusion with Big Tech.” to hand over to suppressing freedom of expression” by March 23, the committee said.
A Microsoft spokesman said: “We have begun drafting documents, are working with the committee and are committed to working in good faith.”
A spokesman for Meta said: “We have already begun and will continue to produce documents in response to the committee’s requests.
Spokespersons for Amazon, Apple and Alphabet did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
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Jordan and his GOP allies have accused tech companies of suppressing free speech protected by the First Amendment by coordinating with the government to take down content.
At a hearing last week, Republicans on the House Oversight Committee blasted former Twitter employees over similar allegations based on content moderation decisions. Democrats and the panel of former Twitter employees countered that the First Amendment protects private companies from making their own content moderation decisions, and Democrats accused Republicans of using the hearing as a distracting political stunt.
Last week’s hearing was largely based on Twitter’s handling of decisions to limit the distribution of a New York Post story about President Biden’s son, Hunter Biden. But Republicans have generally lashed out at social media companies over allegations that they censor conservative content, citing posts and accounts being removed for violating social media companies’ own policies.