So, it looks like Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg isn’t going to be held in contempt of Congress after all — at least for now.
The House Judiciary Committee was supposed to voteof Congress on Thursday, but chair Jim Jordan (R-OH) canceled the vote shortly before it was scheduled to take place, . The vote was originally a play to get Meta to hand over additional documents as part of a committee investigation into alleged collusion with the White House to censor conservative speech.
But according to a tweet from Jordan on Thursday, Meta must have provided enough new material to calm his concerns.
“Based on Facebook’s newfound commitment to fully cooperate with the Committee’s investigation, the Committee has decided to hold contempt in abeyance. For now,” JordanThursday. “To be clear, contempt is still on the table and WILL be used if Facebook fails to cooperate in FULL.”
The entire contempt hullabaloo stems fromthe committee sent to Meta and other tech companies — including Amazon, Apple, and Microsoft — for any internal communications related to moderation discussions they’ve had with executive branch officials. The company did not subpoena Twitter, which has also had similar discussions with the government. Republicans on the panel have long supported Elon Musk and his ownership of the company following pledges to maintain “free speech.”
It is within the First Amendment rights of Meta — and every other social media company — to moderate online content as they choose.
Prior to Thursday’s cancellation, Republicans accused Meta of failing to cooperate with the investigation by withholding key communications. The contempt resolution accuses Meta of failing to supply documents detailing discussions with the executive branch regarding “the moderation, deletion, suppression, restriction or reduced circulation of content.” These document requests seem to focus on Meta’s policies on covid and election integrity.
“Those who have questioned the safety or efficacy of lockdowns, masks, and vaccines have often found themselves suspended from Meta’s platforms,” the resolution says. “In other words, Meta has censored individuals who questioned the federal government’s position.”
Earlier this week, Meta spokesperson Andy Stone directed The Verge to a comment it gaveregarding the resolution, saying that the company has produced more than 50,000 pages of documents and “made nearly a dozen current and former employees available to discuss external and internal issues” in response to the February subpoena.
The committee’s own resolution seemed to confirm this figure, saying that the company has shared “tens of thousands of pages chronicling Meta’s extensive interactions with Executive Branch entities.”
Any moves to hold Zuckerberg in contempt would be largely symbolic and would require a vote on the House floor for approval.