In September, Ohio Representative
The congressmen had no power to make Zuckerberg heed the request, and he didn’t respond. But Jordan was preparing for big changes in the near future. A Republican takeover of the House would likely elevate him to Judiciary Committee chair, a position that would allow him to back up his demands with the threat of a subpoena. Jordan was a key participant in the Benghazi investigation, a sprawling House probe that was bipartisan but used by some Republicans for political purposes, a goal at which Jordan proved particularly adept.
Those plans remain on hold after a surprisingly strong Democratic performance in the midterm elections on Nov. 8, which left the balance of Congress in doubt as of midday Wednesday. The odds are still in favor of Republicans securing a slim majority, which is all they’d need to control House committees.
The goal of a GOP inquiry into Big Tech would not be to bring in CEOs for embarrassing hearings, says a senior aide involved in planning, who asked not to be named when speaking about future committee activity. Rather it would go after documents and compel the testimony of decision-makers at companies such as Meta and
Such an effort would seek to bring transparency to the operations of secretive tech companies, the GOP aide says, and could be used to inform legislation. Republicans have already circulated draft bills that focus on hot-button tech issues, such as content moderation and cybersecurity. But regardless of whether they eke out a slight majority, the chances of substantial legislation are low, given the need for cross-party cooperation at time of intense partisan hostility.
In such a polarized environment, even bills on which the parties ostensibly agree have been unlikely to become law. For example, a House committee voted overwhelmingly to advance a bipartisan privacy bill sponsored by Republican
One Republican member of the committee, who asked not to be named, says the party should have waited until it was in the majority to negotiate the details from a position of strength. Two Republicans on the committee say that the bill needs to be redrafted before being reintroduced next year. They also want to include provisions that would likely cost it the necessary Democratic support, such as preempting state laws and eliminating the option for individuals to sue companies for violating their privacy.
There are other areas where the parties could work together, such as a desire to strengthen protections for children online or to crack down on Chinese companies like TikTok owner
The committee would likely also look into decisions by Meta, Twitter Inc. and YouTube to suspend former President Donald Trump’s accounts after the Jan. 6 attack on the US Capitol, as well as the Biden administration’s cooperation with social media companies to identify and downplay Covid-19 misinformation.
There’s little chance that Democrats would cooperate with any of these probes, even though the Judiciary Committee has conducted bipartisan investigations of Big Tech before. The panel’s antitrust subcommittee, led by Rhode Island Democrat
Those bills wouldn’t get a hearing next year under Jordan’s leadership. But he’s signaled that he does plan to investigate one of Biden’s top antitrust enforcers, Federal Trade Commission Chair
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