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House panel backs away from Zuckerberg contempt vote

Judiciary Committee chairman says Meta has produced more documents in response to a congressional subpoena

House Judiciary Chairman Jim Jordan called off a Thursday meeting about whether to hold social media mogul Mark Zuckerberg in criminal contempt of Congress.
House Judiciary Chairman Jim Jordan called off a Thursday meeting about whether to hold social media mogul Mark Zuckerberg in criminal contempt of Congress. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The House Judiciary Committee scrapped a Thursday meeting where they planned to consider whether to hold social media mogul Mark Zuckerberg in criminal contempt of Congress for refusing to comply with a congressional subpoena.

The dispute with Zuckerberg, the CEO of Facebook parent company Meta, centered on a February subpoena that required the company to provide information about its engagement with the executive branch and Meta’s “decisions and policies regarding content moderation.”

About two hours before Thursday’s committee meeting was set to begin, Chairman Jim Jordan said Meta had produced more documents only after the panel announced its intent to hold Zuckerberg in contempt.

“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,” the Ohio Republican tweeted on X, formerly known as Twitter.

“To be clear, contempt is still on the table and WILL be used if Facebook fails to cooperate in FULL,” Jordan said.

The jostling with Meta underscores broader grievances Republicans have voiced against social media companies.

GOP lawmakers have scrutinized the relationship between social media companies and the federal government because they contend certain platforms have mistreated conservatives over their views and violated First Amendment free speech protections.

A report released by Republican staff earlier this week argued that Meta demoted certain content, changed its policies to “accommodate” government demands and removed specific posts and accounts. It also contends Meta faced bullying from the Biden administration.

The report said Meta produced a “small subset of relevant internal documents,” along with records between Meta and external entities. But it accused the company of failing to produce “nearly all of the relevant documents internal to the company.”

Andy Stone, a Meta spokesman, said earlier this week that the company had delivered more than 53,000 pages of documents, including internal and external records, along with making current and former employees available to discuss “external and internal matters.”

“For many months, Meta has operated in good faith with this committee’s sweeping requests for information,” Stone said. “We began sharing documents before the committee’s February subpoena and have continued to do so.”

The episode on Thursday highlights the lengths House Republicans will go to get information they have requested.

Last month, House Oversight and Accountability Chairman James R. Comer called off a meeting on whether to hold the head of the FBI in contempt of Congress.

The meeting was scrapped after the committee secured more access to records tied to accusations against President Joe Biden.

In that dispute, all members of the panel would be able to review a record from the FBI — an accommodation that fell short of Comer’s previous demand that the FBI hand over the unclassified record to the committee.

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