House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan sent a letter on Monday to Google parent company Alphabet, expressing concern over the firm's failure to fully comply with a subpoena concerning federal government officials collaborating with technology firms to censor content.
Executives at Alphabet, along with Amazon, Apple, Meta, and Microsoft, were asked by lawmakers for documents related to their alleged suppression of free speech. CNBC reports that according to Jordan, Alphabet inadequately complied with the subpoena, issued on February 15 with a return date of March 23, and improperly redacted information.
Jordan's letter to Daniel Donovan, an attorney representing Alphabet, stated that the company had hindered the committee's review of the material by unilaterally redacting crucial information without any applicable privilege.
“Despite explicit instructions enclosed with the subpoena to produce unredacted documents, Alphabet has frustrated the committee’s review of the responsive material by unilaterally redacting key information necessary to understand the context and content of the material,” Jordan wrote. “These redactions do not appear to be based on any applicable privilege, because Alphabet has asserted none, and the committee requires this material to be produced without redactions.”
Alphabet provided 4,049 pages of documents related to censorship efforts, which Jordan deemed insufficient compared to the expected volume. Additionally, the company insisted on examining the materials in a reading room, which Jordan argued obstructed the committee's understanding and use of the documents and failed to comply with the subpoena's terms.
The subpoena primarily aimed to obtain communications between executives at rival social media companies regarding the coordinated censorship of particular viewpoints. YouTube, owned by Alphabet, recently censored a Project Veritas video featuring a Pfizer executive discussing the company's use of "directed evolution" to mutate coronaviruses and create more potent variants and vaccines.
Jordan warned that the committee may consider using enforcement mechanisms if Alphabet does not submit relevant documents by May 22.
This investigation follows the Twitter Files' revelations, which showed that executives worked with federal officials to censor certain claims and used shadow bans and suspensions against conservative and moderate users.