Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee may vote to hold Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg in contempt later this week, according to a new report from Punchbowl News Monday.
The potential contempt vote hinges on a February subpoena from the committee demanding Meta produce documents and communications related to content moderation discussions it had with executive branch officials. The members of the commission have accused Meta of not cooperating with the investigation by not keeping documents.
the sources said Punchbowl the poll plans to hold a vote on Thursday.
Responding to the possible vote, Meta’s spokesperson, Andy Stone, directed threshold in a statement the company gave Fox Business saying Meta had “shared over 50,000 pages of documents” and “made nearly a dozen current and former employees available to discuss external and internal issues” in response to the commission’s subpoena.
That clearly hasn’t been enough for Republicans, who have used their newfound House majority to investigate coordination between the White House and tech companies to censor content since the 2020 election. Alphabet, Amazon, Apple and Microsoft all received similar subpoenas in February to the one sent to Meta.
“Meta has critical information that he has not submitted to the commission”
“Meta has critical information that it has not provided to the committee about the federal government’s efforts to censor Internet speech and how Meta has responded to those efforts,” said Russell Dye, spokesman for Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), chairman of the committee. Punchbowl.
Democrats have pointed out that there is no law that prohibits tech companies from cooperating with the government to find and remove harmful content, namely content that falsely claims the 2020 presidential election was rigged or downplayed Covid.
The GOP-led committee left Twitter out of the investigation, choosing instead to back its new owner, Elon Musk, and the allegations he helped raise in a series of reports called “The Twitter Files.” Shortly after buying the company last year, Musk gave a limited group of reporters access to select internal company documents that described moderate decisions about Hunter Biden’s laptop, “shadowbanning” and the suspension of former President Donald Trump in 2021.
While subsequent committee hearings have not amounted to much more than hard knocks, a federal judge recently issued a preliminary injunction barring Biden administration officials from making requests for moderation on the platforms.
The committee already escalated its fight with Meta last week in a letter to Zuckerberg suggesting the company’s new Threads platform “raises serious concerns, specifically because it has been marketed as a rival to Elon Musk’s Twitter, which has faced political persecution from the Biden administration following Musk’s commitment to free speech.”
The letter appears to address an ongoing Federal Trade Commission investigation into Musk’s purchase of the company. Earlier this month, the committee brought in FTC Chairwoman Lina Khan for a hearing that focused largely on that investigation and the document requests it made to the company about its privacy and security practices.
Until the Trump administration, Congress rarely voted to hold contempt votes. More recently, Trump White House advisers like Mark Meadows have been held in contempt, but the Justice Department has declined to prosecute them.
It is unclear whether the Justice Department would act on any of the committee’s contempt votes against Zuckerberg. Punchbowl called the vote a “largely symbolic step” for the committee.