Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, who is poised to become chairman of the House Judiciary Committee in January, is demanding information and records from Big Tech companies on their alleged ‘collusion’ with the Biden administration to censor conservatives on their platforms.
Jordan wrote letters to Google, Apple, Facebook (now known as Meta), Microsoft and Amazon on Wednesday, putting the Big Tech companies on notice about his panel’s investigations and signaling his intention to use compulsory measures should they fail to cooperate.
‘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,’ Jordan wrote. ‘This approach undermines fundamental American principles and allows powerful government actors to silence political opponents and stifle opposing viewpoints.’
Jordan said publicly available information suggests that the Big Tech companies’ ‘treatment of certain speakers and content may stem from government directives or guidance designed to suppress dissenting views.’
‘Therefore, we write to request more information about the nature and extent of your company’s collusion with the Biden administration,’ Jordan wrote in letters to Google CEOs Sundar Pichai and Susan Wojcicki; Apple CEO Tim Cook; Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg; Microsoft CEOs Satya Nadella and Ryan Roslansky; and Amazon CEO Andy Jassy.
‘Big Tech’s role in shaping national and international public discourse today is well-known,’ Jordan wrote, pointing to Big Tech’s ‘heavy-handed censorship’—specifically of voices that ‘disagree with the prevailing progressive consensus.’
‘Because of Big Tech’s wide reach, it can serve as a powerful and effective partisan arm of the ‘woke speech police,” Jordan wrote.
‘Although the full extent of Big Tech’s collusion with the Biden administration is unknown, there are prominent examples and strong indications of Big Tech censorship following directives or pressure from executive branch entities,’ Jordan explained. He said these examples ‘raise serious concerns about how and why tech companies, suppress, silence, or reduce the reach of certain political speech and speakers.’
‘The collusion of Big Tech and Big Government to advance censorship undeniably undermines liberty and jeopardizes our country’s First Amendment values and protections,’ he added.
Jordan said Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee are investigating Big Tech’s ‘commitment to freedom of speech online’ and the Biden administration’s ‘collusion with Big Tech to censor, silence, or reduce the reach of certain information and viewpoints.’
‘Congress has an important interest in protecting and advancing fundamental free speech principles, including by examining how private actors coordinate with the government to suppress First Amendment-protected speech,’ Jordan wrote.
Jordan specifically demanded documents and records of communications from January 2020 to the present between any company employee or contractor and any person affiliated with the executive branch of the U.S. government referring to moderation, deletion or reducing the circulation of certain content.
Jordan also demanded companies provide a list of third-party groups or companies or people that they have worked with in making decisions or policies referring to related to content moderation or suppression.
‘This list should include but is not limited to any fact-checking entities; the Southern Poverty Law Center; other technology firms or social media platforms; advertisers or potential advertisers; financial services firms or payment processors; proxy advisory firms; and investors or investment firms,’ he wrote.
Jordan reminded the companies that the committee has previously written letters to the companies to obtain ‘relevant information,’ but said the companies have ‘not provided responses that have satisfied our concerns or produced the requested documents or information.’
Jordan stressed that the committee will continue to pursue the investigation into the next Congress ‘if necessary.’ He gave the companies a deadline of Dec. 29 at 5 p.m. to comply with the committee’s requests.
Jordan also stressed that the letters serve as ‘a formal request to preserve all existing and future records and materials relating to the topics’ addressed.
‘You should construe this preservation notice as an instruction to take all reasonable steps to prevent the destruction or alteration, whether intentionally or negligently, of all documents, communications, and other information, including electronic information and metadata, that are or may be responsive to this congressional inquiry,’ he wrote. Jordan said that directive includes all electronic messages sent using official and personal accounts or devices, as well as text messages or messages through encryption software apps.
The investigation comes after Republicans have sounded the alarm for years on Big Tech censorship and bias against conservatives.
Jordan’s letters also come after new Twitter CEO Elon Musk revealed the ‘Twitter Files,’ which detailed the suppression of the Hunter Biden laptop story on the social media platform ahead of the 2020 election.
Biden has been under federal investigation for his tax affairs, including money laundering, since 2018.