Willie R. Tubbs, FISM News
Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), chair of the House Judiciary Committee, has sent the loudest message yet that Republicans intend to swing big in their quest to reign in the federal government’s involvement in tech company policy and practices.
Wednesday, as first reported by the Wall Street Journal, Jordan sent subpoenas to executives from five of the largest tech companies in the world: Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Alphabet’s Sundar Pichai, Microsoft’s Satya Nadella, Apple’s Tim Cook, and Amazon’s Andy Jassy.
“We just subpoenaed Google, Amazon, Facebook, Microsoft, and Apple regarding Big Tech’s reported collusion with the federal government,” Jordan tweeted. “Step one towards accountability.”
— Rep. Jim Jordan (@Jim_Jordan) February 15, 2023
Republicans want to know how tech companies choose to censor Americans and the extent to which the federal government has played a role in such censorship, particularly in the run-up to the most recent presidential elections.
“To develop effective legislation, such as the possible enactment of new statutory limits on the Executive Branch’s ability to work with Big Tech to restrict the circulation of content and to deplatform users, the Judiciary Committee must first understand how and to what extent the Executive Branch coerced and colluded with companies and other intermediaries to censor speech,” Jordan’s letter to Jassy reads.
According to a press release from the Judiciary Committee, Jordan, who also serves on the newly formed House Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government, has requested these companies provide documentation of the types of “communication between them and the executive branch of the U.S. government relating to moderation, deletion, suppression or reduced circulation of content.”
“Mr. Jordan first asked for these documents last year before Republicans formally took the majority and is now stepping up his requests for them as chairman who has the power to subpoena documents,” the release reads.
It appears Jordan and company were inspired, at least in part, by the Elon Musk-commissioned “Twitter Files,” a series of self-reports that Jordan characterized as Twitter setting “a benchmark for how transparent Big Tech companies can be about interactions with government over censorship.”
Jordan added, “The Twitter Files have exposed how Big Tech and the federal government have worked hand in hand in ways that undermine First Amendment principles. Numerous internal documents from Twitter reflect the weaponization of the federal government’s power to censor speech online. It is necessary for Congress to gauge the extent to which this occurred at Amazon as well.”
Republicans have long argued that Big Tech companies colluded with one another, U.S. intelligence and federal law enforcement bodies, and Democrats to, at a minimum, weight the scales against Republicans in the realm of public discourse.