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House Republicans plan to hold Meta’s Mark Zuckerberg in contempt of Congress

If the House were to hold Zuckerberg in contempt, the Justice Department would decide whether to prosecute him

Facebook Mark Zuckerberg
CEO of Facebook Mark Zuckerberg walks to lunch following a session at the Allen & Company Sun Valley Conference on July 08, 2021 in Sun Valley, Idaho.Kevin Dietsch (Getty Images)

The Republican chairman of the House Judiciary Committee is threatening to hold Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg in contempt of Congress for failing to supply documents related to an investigation into supposed censorship by tech companies of conservatives.

Rep. Jim Jordan, chair of the Judiciary Committee, said the panel plans to hold a hearing Thursday to vote on a contempt report detailing how Zuckerberg has “willfully refused” to comply with a February subpoena.

The measure is likely to pass the GOP-controlled committee. It would then be up to House Speaker Kevin McCarthy to hold a full House vote on the contempt resolution as early as this fall, after the August recess.

If the House were to hold Zuckerberg in contempt, the Justice Department would decide whether to prosecute him.

Andy Stone, a spokesperson for Meta, said the company has delivered more than 50,000 pages of both internal and external documents to the committee since February. He added that they also have made current and former employees available for interviews with lawmakers.

“For many months, Meta has operated in good faith with this committee’s sweeping requests for information,” Stone said in a statement.

Jordan, R-Ohio, issued the subpoenas to the chief executives of the five largest tech companies, including Zuckerberg, shortly after Republicans took over the House in January — looking to make good on a campaign promise to investigate Big Tech’s content moderation, particularly over COVID-19.

The letters were also sent to Sundar Pichai of Alphabet; Satya Nadella of Microsoft; Tim Cook of Apple; and Andy Jassy of Amazon.com. All were asked to turn over any documents related to what they assert is widespread corporate censorship of conservative voices.

Twitter was notably absent from the list of companies subpoenaed. Its owner, Tesla founder Elon Musk, has proven to be more sympathetic to conservatives than Twitter’s previous management, and Republicans in Congress have gone to bat for him. Republicans held hearings in February with former Twitter executives where GOP lawmakers grilled the witnesses about the company’s decision to initially block a New York Post article in October 2020 about the contents of a laptop belonging to Hunter Biden.

Since then, Jordan has put pressure on Meta specifically, even sending a letter last week to Zuckerberg asking for the platform to produce a whole new series of documents related to content moderation on its new app, Threads, a new rival to Twitter.

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