Jordan issues more subpoenas in Big Tech-government censorship probe

by mcardinal

Willie R. Tubbs, FISM News

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Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), chair of the House Judiciary Committee, announced Friday that he had sent subpoenas to three of the more prominent agencies within the federal government in an effort to collect documents and communication related to allegations that the federal government worked with social media companies to censor speech in 2020. 

According to a release from the committee, Jordan sent letters to the heads of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), and the State Department’s Global Engagement Center (GEC) demanding “documents and communications related to the Committee’s investigation into how the federal government coerced and colluded with private companies and other third-party groups to censor speech.”

“How far did the government censorship go?” Jordan said in a concise tweet. 

It is indisputable that social media companies throttled, censored, or otherwise prevented the wide sharing of opinions or claims that were believed to be the products of misinformation about COVID-19 or matters relating to the 2020 presidential election. 

Additionally, no one questions whether government officials communicated with social media companies about the topic of misinformation. Both government agencies and the companies have long touted having a working relationship. 

The question that Republicans are asking is whether social media companies acted on their own volition or at the behest of government officials when they chose to censor.

Jordan and other conservatives have frequently pointed to the information revealed in the multi-part “Twitter files” series, which was produced when Elon Musk allowed journalists access to the social media giant’s private communications.

“The Twitter Files and other public reporting have exposed how the federal government has pressured and colluded with Big Tech and other intermediaries to censor certain viewpoints on social and other media in ways that undermine First Amendment principles,” Jordan wrote in letters to CDC Director Rochelle Walensky, CISA Director Jen Easterly, and GEC Special Envoy and Coordinator James Rubin. “The First Amendment prohibits government officials from imposing viewpoint-based censorship restrictions.”

He added, “Numerous documents made publicly available reflect the weaponization of the federal government’s power to censor speech online directly and by proxy.”

The Hill reports that CISA officials have denied these allegations and described their communications with social media platforms as a means of sharing information with private companies, who could then act on the information as they saw fit. 

As of this writing, neither the CDC nor GEC had issued a comment.