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The Judiciary Expands Social Media Requests on Meta’s Threads

Speaker Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, center, and Rep. Gerald Nadler, R-D, hold a House Judiciary Committee hearing on the “Report of Special Counsel John Durham” in the Rayburn Building on Wednesday, June 21, 2023.

Tom Williams | CQ-Roll Call, Inc. | Getty Images

asked Chief Justice Jim Jordan, R-Ohio Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg will hand over content moderation documents to Threads in response to a previous subpoena related to an ongoing investigation into the tech platform’s policies and contacts with the Biden administration.

The letter, obtained exclusively by CNBC, is an early indication that Meta’s newest product may be getting the company’s attention in Washington. Threads directly competes with Twitter, which owner Elon Musk wants to build in light of his self-proclaimed absolutism of free speech, despite the fact that users, including journalists, are sometimes suspended.

While Meta executives have made it clear they don’t want news and politics to dominate conversations in Threads, that’s a big part of what users have historically come to Twitter to discuss. The more this happens in Threads, the more it could come under political scrutiny.

“Indeed, Threads is a serious concern because it is being marketed as a competitor to Elon
Musk’s tweet, which has faced political harassment from the Biden administration
Musk’s commitment to free speech,” Jordan wrote. He pointed to an article in the Wall Street Journal that said the Federal Trade Commission had asked Twitter to turn over internal communications about Musk and identify journalists who had been granted access to company documents as part of an investigation into , whether Twitter can adequately protect consumer information.

“In contrast, there are reports that Threads will abide by ‘Instagram’s Community Guidelines,’ which has led to moderation of legal expression after pressure from the government,” Jordan wrote. He pointed to a recent lawsuit against the Biden administration filed by the attorneys general of Missouri and Louisiana, which alleged that the federal government suppressed speech through its efforts to force social media platforms to review what it considered harmful messages related to the Covid-19 pandemic. or elections, for example.

On July 4, a federal judge in Louisiana granted a partial preliminary injunction in that lawsuit, barring several Biden administration officials from meeting with social media companies to encourage them to take down or delete the posts. It also prevented those officials from even flagging certain kinds of social media posts for companies to encourage their removal or suppression.

Following the ruling, the State Department canceled a regular meeting with Facebook about the 2024 election and hacker threats, a company official told The Washington Post. On Friday, the appeals court agreed to temporarily suspend the preliminary injunction, meaning the government can resume flagging the social media posts until the court hears the case further.

Jordan wrote that the committee’s subpoena dated February 15, which was sent to Amazon, an apple, GoogleThe goal and Microsoft, is “persistent in nature”, which means that it also applies to Threads, despite ​​its recent launch. He said the new letter serves as a formal notice to preserve relevant existing and future Threads documents, and asked Meta to provide documents related to Threads content moderation and discussions with the Biden administration by the end of the month.

Meta did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Read the letter that Chief Justice Jim Jordan sent to Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg here:

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