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While GOP plays censorship allegations, House subpoenas Big Tech CEOs


House Republicans call on major tech companies to cough up documents about their dealings with the Biden administration through online content moderation, in an escalation of their efforts to advance allegations that Silicon Valley and the Democrats are involved in a broad conspiracy against conservative views.

Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, announced Wednesday that he had sent subpoenas to the CEOs of Apple, Amazon, Alphabet, Meta and Microsoft seeking information about “the federal government’s reported collusion with Big Tech to Suppress Free Speech.” (Amazon founder Jeff Bezos owns The Washington Post.)

Conservatives have argued for years, often with mostly anecdotal evidence, that social media companies “censor” conservative views online and favor Democrats. Last week, the Republican-led House held a hearing with former Twitter executives on the social media company’s decision to briefly block sharing of a New York Post story about Hunter Biden.

The former executives pressed back on the story that the tech company colluded with Democrats, but Republicans persisted with years of speculation.

GOP lawmakers allege Big Tech conspiracy, even as ex-Twitter employees refute them

Social media companies have regularly come under fire from both sides of the aisle for their handling of high-profile events and the proliferation of misinformation online. Democrats have often defended the companies’ decisions to remove potentially harmful information and called on the companies to be more proactive, while Republicans have accused the companies of clamping down on free speech.

Twitter was absent from Jordan’s subpoenas on Wednesday. The social media company is now led by Tesla CEO Elon Musk, who has expressed sympathy with the conservative concerns, saying he is concerned about online “suppression of free speech.”

Subpoenas directed at technology companies are relatively rare. The former Twitter executives were subpoenaed to testify at their own request. And a Democrat-led House panel subpoenaed several tech companies for electoral misinformation while investigating the Jan. 6, 2021 attack on the Capitol.

Spokespersons for Microsoft and Meta said the companies had begun producing documents for the committee. Amazon declined to comment. Apple and Alphabet did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Cat Zakrzewski contributed to this report.

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