Speaker Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, center, and Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D.N.Y., noncommissioned member, lead the House Judiciary Committee hearing on “Special Counsel John Durham’s Report,” in the Rayburn Building on Wednesday, June 21, 2023.
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House Judiciary Chairman Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, asked Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg will submit documents on content moderation to Threads in response to an earlier subpoena related to the panel’s ongoing investigation into tech platform policies and contacts with the Biden administration.
The letter, obtained exclusively by CNBC, is an early indication of the additional spotlight Meta’s new product could bring to the company in Washington. Threads is in direct competition with Twitter, which owner Elon Musk wants to shape with his self-proclaimed free speech absolutism in mind, despite sometimes suspending users, including journalists.
While Meta executives have made it clear that they don’t want news and politics to dominate conversation on Threads, that’s a big part of what users have historically come to Twitter to discuss. The more this becomes the case on Threads, the more it could land in the political crosshairs.
“Indeed, Threads raises serious and specific concerns because it has been marketed as a rival to Elon
Musk’s Twitter, which was politically persecuted by the Biden administration after
Musk’s commitment to free speech,” Jordan wrote. He pointed to a Wall Street Journal article which revealed that the Federal Trade Commission had asked Twitter to forward internal communications about Musk and identify journalists authorized to access company records, as part of an investigation into whether Twitter could still protect consumer information adequately.
“In contrast, there are reports that Threads will enforce Instagram’s ‘Community Guidelines,’ which resulted in the moderation of lawful speech following government pressure,” Jordan wrote. He pointed to a recent lawsuit against the Biden administration filed by the attorneys general of Missouri and Louisiana that alleged the federal government had suppressed speech through its efforts to get social media platforms to address what he considered harmful messages related to the Covid-19 pandemic. or elections, for example.
On July 4, a federal judge in Louisiana granted partial preliminary injunction in that lawsuit that has prevented several Biden administration officials from meeting with social media companies to encourage them to remove or delete posts. It also prevented these officials from flagging certain types of social media posts to companies to encourage their removal or deletion.
Following the ruling, the State Department canceled a regular meeting with Facebook about the 2024 election and hacking threats, a person at the company said. The Washington Post. On Friday, an appeals court agreed to put a temporary break on the preliminary injunction, which means the government’s reporting of social media posts could resume until the court considers the case further.
Jordan wrote that the committee’s February 15 subpoena, which was sent to Amazon, Apple, GoogleMeta and Microsoft, “continues in nature”, meaning it also applies to Threads despite its more recent launch. He said the new letter serves as a formal notice to preserve relevant existing and future documents on Threads and asked Meta to provide documents related to the moderation of Threads content and discussions with the Biden administration by the end of the month.
Meta did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Read the letter that House Judiciary Chairman Jim Jordan sent to Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg here: