The House Judiciary Committee will vote on Thursday whether to hold Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg accountable for contempt of Congress because, according to the committee, he failed to produce adequate documents as part of an earlier subpoena.
As the committee suggests in its report, a criminal contempt case could be referred by the committee to the Justice Department. The Justice Department could then decide whether or not to pursue the case.
The original subpoena formed part of an investigation on tech platforms and their communication with the Biden Administration, as well as content moderation decisions.
The House Judiciary Committee
Voting is scheduled for Thursday
On whether or not to cite
Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, is in contempt with Congress because he has not provided adequate documents to support an earlier subpoena issued in the panel’s investigation into online censorship.
The committee claimed that Meta and Zuckerberg had "willfully refused to fully comply with a subpoena" from Congress, which sought documents about the company's communication with the Biden Administration and its decisions on content moderation.
The committee described Meta's response to the subpoena as "horribly inadequate."
The committee votes
To cite Zuckerberg as contemptuous, the resolution must pass on the House floor. The committee suggested that a criminal contempt case could be sent to the Justice Department. They could then decide whether or not to pursue the case.
The original subpoena was part an investigation into
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Jim Jordan, R. Ohio, chair of the Judiciary Committee, wrote that he wanted to understand, along with Meta, "how and to what extent, the Executive Branch colluded and coerced companies and other intermediaries in order to censor speech."
In February, the order to hand over documents was issued.
Jordan has since expanded its investigation into Meta
Included in the new Twitter competitor Threads
Jordan wrote that, in his opinion, the subpoenaed documents regarding Threads' content moderation were subject to it.
The contempt report states that "despite being directly responsive to Committee's subpoena Meta has failed in producing nearly all relevant internal documents to the company." Meta has only produced documents between Meta, external entities and a subset of internal documents relevant. The Committee is particularly interested in Meta's internal documentation, which will shed light on Meta's understanding, evaluation, and response to Executive Branch requests or directives for censoring content. It also wants to know Meta's process of decision-making to censor views in the modern townsquare.
In a press release, Meta spokesperson Andy Stone stated that Meta had "operated in good conscience" in response to the broad requests of the committee.
Stone wrote: "We have provided over 53,000 internal and external documents to date, and we've made a dozen employees and ex-employees available for discussions on external and internal issues. Some of these meetings are scheduled this week." "Meta will comply with the good faith requests of the committee, as we have done so far."
The contempt report states that, since the subpoena's issuance on February 15, "Meta produced communications between Meta with external entities and less than 40 pages of documents." Meta has failed to comply with the Committee's Subpoena despite repeated requests by Committee staff.
The report states that "the Committee offered significant accommodations to try to achieve an agreement" but Meta rejected these proposals and "offered paltry productions of internal documents on the 24th July."