Biden Administration Link to Suppression of Content on Facebook, Google and YouTube Eyed by House Panel (Report)

On the heels of in-fighting that delayed the confirmation of Kevin McCarthy as Republican speaker in the House of Representatives, the GOP is forming a panel to probe the communications between the Biden administration and big tech and social media firms, the Wall Street Journal reported.

The GOP is expected to launch the Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government as early as Tuesday. It would be part of the House Judiciary Committee chaired by Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), an ally of Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.)

The panel will explore whether the White House used undue influence to effect information about COVID-19 and other “legitimate viewpoints” distributed by users of via Facebook, YouTube and Google. The platforms are owned by Meta Platforms Inc. and Alphabet, Inc. respectively.

The Biden administration is framing the panel as a partisan political stunt, and White House spokesman Ian Sams said the House GOP’s partisan efforts amounted to the opposite of “joining the president to tackle the issues the American people care about most like inflation.”

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The WSJ reported its unlikely any legislation from committee’s finding would be passed, however, because the GOP has a slim majority in the House – and partisan politics stand in the way along with uncertainty over whether the subcommittee would find anything substantial. The two parties disagree over whether the federal government has or should have any say on what content is pushed on social media.

The crux of the panel’s work is examining whether the executive branch has stifled or effected the private and nonprofit sector, as well as other government agencies, in violating U.S. citizens’ rights. A draft resolution for the subcommittee refers to “alleged violations of their free-speech rights,” WSJ reported.

The GOP put the tech industry in its crosshairs last year, with Republican attorneys general of Missouri and Louisiana suing the Biden administration in the U.S. District Court in Louisiana. Lawyers for the states said they found evidence “that more than 80 federal officials have been seeking to influence social-media companies to take down posts and remove accounts that conflicted with the government’s preferred point of view,” WSJ reported.

A number of scientists who complained their COVID-19 related posts were “unfairly treated by tech companies” joined the lawsuit, which the feds argued didn’t amount of “plausible allegations of coercion” or created “sufficient injuries to the plaintiffs.”

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