The House Judiciary Committee has subpoenaed five Big Tech executives to produce documents by late March about collusion with federal government agencies to suppress free speech.
“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 deplatform users, the Committee on the Judiciary must first understand how and to what extent the Executive Branch coerced and colluded with companies and other intermediaries to censor speech,” the letters from Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, to the CEOs say.
The committee announced on Wednesday that it has issued subpoenas to Sundar Pichai, CEO of Alphabet, the parent company of Google, the nation’s largest search engine.
The committee is also trying to compel cooperation from Andy Jassy, the CEO of Amazon, the nation’s largest retailer. The committee sent a subpoena to Mark Zuckberg, the CEO of Meta, the parent company of the social media giant Facebook.
“In contrast to Meta, Twitter recently set a benchmark for how transparent Big Tech companies can be about interactions with government over censorship,” the letter from Jordan to Zuckerberg says. “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 Meta as well.”
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The committee also subpoenaed Tim Cook, the CEO of Apple, and Satya Nadella, the CEO of Microsoft.
Jordan’s office added that Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee have repeatedly attempted to engage with the five companies since last December, after Republicans won the midterm elections but before they formally became the majority party in the House.
“Unfortunately, the companies have not adequately complied with our requests,” the committee press release says.
It adds, “Congress has an important role in protecting and advancing fundamental free speech principles, including by examining how private actors coordinate with the government to to suppress First Amendment-protected speech. These subpoenas are the first step in holding Big Tech accountable.”
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