Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee are demanding several Big Tech companies hand over documents as the panel expands its probe into the Biden administration’s attempts to curtail online freedom of speech.
In letters Wednesday to CEOs from Apple, Amazon, Google parent Alphabet, Facebook parent Meta and Microsoft, Rep. Jim Jordan, Ohio Republican and the incoming chairman of the committee, accused the companies of being an arm of the Biden administration’s “woke speech police.”
“Big Tech is out to get conservatives, and is increasingly willing to undermine First Amendment values by complying with the Biden Administration’s directives that suppress freedom of speech online,” Mr. Jordan wrote. “This approach undermines fundamental American principles and allows powerful government actors to silence political opponents and stifle opposing viewpoints.”
In the letters, Mr. Jordan insists that the tech giants hand over documents and communication between their employees and “any individual affiliated with the Executive Branch” dating back to January 2020, pursuant to the committee’s probe into “the Biden administration’s collusion with Big Tech to censor, silence, or reduce the reach of certain information and viewpoints.”
Mr. Jordan is also demanding that the companies hand over documents and communications concerning content moderation influenced by federal officials and lists of individuals who have been responsible for shaping company policies related to the suppression or restriction of content.
The letters compound House Republicans’ calls to hold Big Tech accountable amid recent revelations pointing to federal officials and Biden campaign insiders working with Silicon Valley to curtail free speech.
Republicans on the House Oversight Committee also sent letters Wednesday to Twitter owner Elon Musk and Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg requesting documents and communications from the platform to assist in an ongoing probe “to uncover any unconstitutional actions by government officials or agents working on their behalf.”
“Despite these clear constitutional limits on government action, reports continue to surface that government officials and agencies have conducted censorship campaigns involving social media platforms,” wrote the lawmakers, led by Rep. James Comer of Kentucky, the panel’s top Republican.
“Whether working through the Department of Homeland Security, the FBI, or other agencies, government officials should not tip the scale by urging social media platforms to disallow certain speech,” they wrote.
Earlier this month, Mr. Musk began revealing Twitter’s left-wing bent that led to the censorship of conservative viewpoints, the suppression of the Hunter Biden laptop story just weeks before the 2020 presidential election, and the chaotic decision to permanently ban then-President Trump in the wake of the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.
The so-called Twitter Files have also revealed the extent to which the platform worked with the Biden campaign and federal agencies to moderate speech including regular meetings between platform executives and officials from the FBI, Office of the Director of National Intelligence and Department of Homeland Security.
“A bedrock principle of our democracy is free speech,” the House Oversight Committee lawmakers wrote. “The government, in concert with social media, should not tell Americans what they can and cannot say online.”