House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan (R-OH) has issued subpoenas to five big tech CEOs, seeking documents related to their companies’ censorship practices and the extent to which they involve the U.S. government. The subpoenas were sent to Sundar Pichai of Alphabet, Andy Jassy of Amazon, Mark Zuckerberg of Meta, Satya Nadella of Microsoft, and Tim Cook of Apple.
The documents demanded include all communications between the companies and the U.S. government relating to moderation, deletion, suppression, restricting, or reducing circulation of content. Jordan requested the documents in December while serving as the ranking Republican member of the Judiciary Committee and reiterated the request in letters on February 6 while serving as chairman.
In cover letters accompanying the subpoenas, Jordan wrote that “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” to develop effective legislation such as new statutory limits on the Executive Branch’s ability to work with Big Tech.
Jordan excluded Twitter CEO Elon Musk from the big tech bosses targeted by the new subpoenas, pointing to the now-public “Twitter files” revealing interactions between Twitter and the government and the “benchmark” Twitter had thereby set “for how transparent Big Tech companies can be about interactions with government over censorship.”
The House Judiciary Committee has repeatedly tried to work with each of the companies since at least December 2022. Still, the companies have not adequately complied with requests, according to Jordan’s office. In December, Jordan and Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee had received compelling evidence that Big Tech companies were “colluding with the Biden administration to suppress free speech online.”
Jordan demanded at that time information about “the nature and extent of your companies’ collusion with the Biden administration,” to no avail.
The investigation comes after Republicans have raised concerns over Big Tech censorship and bias against conservatives for years. The move by Jordan to subpoena the CEOs is the first step in holding Big Tech accountable, according to a statement from Jordan’s office.
A Microsoft spokesperson told reporters from Fox News that the firm has started producing documents, is engaged with the committee, and is committed to working in good faith to comply. Likewise, a Meta spokesperson told reporters that they have begun the production process in response to the committee’s orders and will continue working to comply. Apple and Amazon did not immediately respond to media requests for comment.