Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) sent letters Friday to the former Twitter safety chief and the Department of Homeland Security’s former cybersecurity director, requesting interviews with the two as the House Judiciary Committee continues its investigation into alleged social media censorship by the federal government.
Jordan said the Biden administration “participated in efforts to unconstitutionally monitor and censor Americans’ speech on social media platforms.”
The committee work is parallel to a federal lawsuit from the attorneys general of Missouri and Louisiana against the administration which resulted in a near-total ban on communicating with social media platforms such as X, formerly known as Twitter, and Facebook in July.
An appeals court paused the ban later that month, after the administration said the decision could cause “grave harm.” They are appealing the full ruling.
Jordan is seeking interviews with former Twitter Head of Trust and Safety Yoel Roth, who left that role in 2022, as well as the former director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency Chris Krebs, who led the agency during the Trump administration.
House Republicans have alleged that the Biden administration has pressured social media platforms like Twitter to take down posts it doesn’t politically agree with.
“The federal government has pressured and colluded with Big Tech and other intermediaries to censor certain viewpoints on social and other media in ways that undermine First Amendment principles,” Jordan said in the letter to Roth.
The administration has responded defending their actions, noting that their contact with social media sites is generally related to national security communications and limiting the spread of misinformation, specifically about COVID-19 and election security.
In recent weeks, Jordan has also requested interviews and information from the FBI, Justice Department and the Center for Countering Digital Hate, a nonprofit which Jordan accused of advising the Biden administration on its “unconstitutional pressure campaign.”
The Department of Justice pushed back at the heart of Jordan’s investigation.
“The Department, including the FBI, does not censor content on social media platforms,” the Justice Department said in a statement on Thursday.
“Private companies have the sole authority to make decisions to protect their platforms and users. As with all the committee’s various requests, the department remains committed to working with the Committee to fulfill their informational needs.”
The DOJ said the administration stopped its anti-misinformation campaign a year ago and did not undermine free speech.
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