Facebook, Google, and Twitter all declined to attend a hearing being held by the House Judiciary Committee on online censorship
Shortly after hearing from the first witnesses in the hearing, Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) and Jim Himes (D-CT), the Chairman of the House Committee on the Judiciary, Bob Goodlatte, called on the committee’s second panel of witnesses. “I would now like to introduce our second panel, our first witness Google, which has refused to appear here today, is ranked first in the world and in the United States for user traffic according to Amazon’s Alexa which tracks such data.”
“Our second witness today,” continued Goodlatte, “which has also refused to appear is Facebook. Facebook’s website according to Alexa ranks third in the United States and in the world. It receives 1.4 billion daily active users and boasts that people can ‘express themselves freely’ on its platform. According to a report published by Media Research Center, this company suppresses pro-life advertisements in addition to conservative content.”
Goodlatte stated: “Our third witness is Twitter, like our other invited witnesses on this panel, Twitter refused to attend. According to Alexa, Twitter’s website ranking is eighth in the United States and 13th in the world. In terms of traffic, approximately 8,000 tweets are sent per second. In addition to the attacks on Representative Blackburn’s pro-life ads, Twitter has been accused of suppressing the pro-life advertisements of live-action.”
“While this committee has presented the opportunity for these companies to come and describe their filtering practices and answer questions that members on both sides of the aisle have about these practices,” said Goodlatte, “their refusal to appear only creates more questions and more concerns. The committee has resolved to have its questions answered directly by these companies and we will pursue whatever means necessary to get these answers.”
Google, Facebook, and Twitter have yet to release statements on why they refused to appear before the committee.