House Judiciary Chair Jim Jordan (R-OH) has expanded his wide-ranging investigation of big tech and social media companies to include Threads, Meta’s new Twitter competitor.
Representative Jordan subpoenaed Alphabet, Amazon, Apple, Meta and Microsoft in February to learn about “how and to what extent the Executive Branch coerced and colluded with companies and other intermediaries to censor speech.”
Though it’s just weeks old, Jordan is already interested in Threads. He wrote a letter to Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg requesting additional information about its new Instagram spinout, asking him to share any information about content moderation. The notice also instructs Zuckerberg to not delete or alter any electronic communications related to the product. Meta’s deadline to comply with the order is July 31.
“Threads raises serious, specific concerns because it has been marketed as rival of Elon Musk’s Twitter, which has faced political persecution from the Biden Administration following Musk’s commitment to free speech,” Jordan wrote.
In the past, Jordan has applauded Musk’s “Twitter Files,” a series of deep dives into Twitter’s past content moderation practices, which turned out to be relatively banal. But while Musk’s Twitter advertises its commitment to free speech, its newer policies have often been incongruous with this goal. Twitter has been known to censor links to other competing social platforms, ban journalists arbitrarily and promote the tweets of users who pay for Twitter Blue.
In another recent lawsuit, a Louisiana judge issued an injunction that limits the communication between the White House and social media companies. The lawsuit regurgitated recurring conservative talking points about Hunter Biden’s laptop, the removal of anti-vaccine content and the Wuhan lab origin theory of the coronavirus. Jordan draws from this complaint in his new subpoena to Meta, but the injunction was stayed by the appeals court.