House Judiciary Committee chairman Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) opened a probe into five big tech CEOs Wednesday, seeking documents related to their companies’ censorship and how the U.S. government may have been involved with those initiatives.
Recipients of subpoenas included Sundar Pichai of Google’s parent company Alphabet, Andy Jassy of Amazon, Mark Zuckerberg of Meta, Satya Nadella of Microsoft, and Tim Cook of Apple.
The House Judiciary GOP broke the news on Twitter:
🚨HUGE BREAKING NEWS: @Jim_Jordan subpoenas Big Tech CEOs. pic.twitter.com/WuOWccu2ZC
— House Judiciary GOP (@JudiciaryGOP) February 15, 2023
“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,” Jordan wrote in letters to the big tech companies.
“To this end, we have asked for communications between [your company] and the Executive Branch, internal [company] communications discussing communications from the Executive Branch, and [company] communications with third parties that may have been working with the Executive Branch, in addition to other key information,” explained Jordan.
Jordan notably did not include Twitter CEO Elon Musk in the subpoenas and asserted that the leaked ‘Twitter Files’ revealing a campaign of collusion and censorship between the social media platform and various government agencies set a “benchmark” for how Big Tech companies can be more “transparent” with their conduct traditionally kept behind the scenes.
“Numerous internal documents from Twitter reflect the weaponization of the federal government’s power to censor speech online,” Jordan wrote, arguing that it was “necessary for Congress to gauge the extent to which this occurred” at the other big tech companies.
Some have expressed doubts about the sincerity of the efforts that Republicans such as Jordan claim to have made in order to put big tech’s censorship of the American people in check. In 2021, Fox News host Tucker Carlson confronted Jordan over the perceived lack of action against these powerful companies, asking him if there would be any consequences for their censorship.
Carlson additionally pointed out that Jordan has been taking donations from Google for years, and was his second-largest campaign contributor in a recent election cycle.