U.S. House Judiciary subpoenas Big Tech CEOs over free speech By Reuters

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: U.S. House Oversight and Accountability Committee member Representative Jim Jordan (R-OH). Jordan is a leading member of the House Freedom Caucus. February 8, 2023. REUTERS/Evelyn Hockstein/File Photo/File Photo

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -U.S. House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan on Wednesday subpoenaed the chief executives of Alphabet (NASDAQ:), Amazon, Apple (NASDAQ:), Facebook (NASDAQ:) and Instagram parent Meta Platforms, and Microsoft (NASDAQ:) for documents and communications relating to free-speech issues.

Jordan and other conservatives accused the companies of suppressing conservative speech during the Trump administration, and expanded that accusation to include colluding with the Biden administration once he won the White House. The White House and major tech companies have rejected the allegation.

“These subpoenas are the first step in holding Big Tech accountable,” Jordan’s office said in a statement.

Microsoft and Meta said that they had already begun producing documents. Microsoft said it was “engaged with the Committee, and committed to working in good faith.” None of the other three companies responded to a request for comment.

The subpoenas, sent to Alphabet’s Sundar Pichai, Andy Jassy of Amazon.com (NASDAQ:), Tim Cook of Apple, Meta’s Mark Zuckerberg, and Satya Nadella of Microsoft, demand documents and communications related to alleged collusion between the government and the companies to stifle free speech.

Jordan set a March 23 deadline to turn over documents.

Republicans who took control of the House of Representatives in January after narrowly winning control in the November elections have made questions about Big Tech a top focus and created a Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government.

Last week, the panel held its first hearing into Republican claims that the Justice Department and FBI show anti-conservative bias, a move made following the FBI’s discovery of hundreds of classified documents at Republican former President Donald Trump’s Florida resort.

Jordan wrote related letters to the companies in December, making similar demands to big tech but this was when the House was in Democratic hands and before he became chair. Jordan’s office said that the companies did not adequately comply.

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