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House Republicans subpoena Apple, Facebook and Google over content moderation

Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio, chair of the Judiciary Committee, also sent subpoenas to the CEOs of Amazon and Microsoft.
Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, at the Capitol Visitor Center on Nov. 15, 2022.
Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, at the Capitol Visitor Center in November. Tom Williams / CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

The Republican-led House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday subpoenaed the chief executives of five major tech companies seeking records and information about their content moderation practices.

Chairman Jim Jordan of Ohio sent the subpoenas to the CEOs of Google parent Alphabet, Amazon, Apple, Facebook parent Meta and Microsoft requesting documents and communications “referring or relating to the moderation, deletion, suppression, restriction or reduced circulation of content.”

The subpoenas also demanded documents specifying the employees responsible for developing or executing content policies and any communications with people outside the executive branch about policies or decisions about content moderation.

In letters accompanying the subpoenas, Jordan said the requested documents would be used as part of the committee's investigation into allegations of collusion with the executive branch to suppress conservative voices online.

Jordan also praised Twitter over an effort dubbed the “Twitter Files” by its CEO, Elon Musk, that released internal documents showing how the company handled a news article about Hunter Biden in 2020. He said Congress must now "gauge the extent to which” similar actions took place at the five companies that were subpoenaed.

The letters say the documents should be submitted by March 23.

A spokesperson said Microsoft was engaging with the committee.

“We have started producing documents, are engaged with the Committee, and committed to working in good faith,” the spokesperson said.

NBC News has asked the four other companies for comment.

House Republicans are moving forward with investigations both directly and indirectly into the Biden administration.

Jordan sent subpoenas this month asking Attorney General Merrick Garland, FBI Director Christopher Wray and Education Secretary Miguel Cardona for information linked to school board meetings around the country.