Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, the ranking Republican on the House Judiciary Committee, has asked Microsoft President Brad Smith about a series of recent bipartisan antitrust bills that may or may not impact the company.
A panel is set to review a package of five bills following an investigation into major technology companies including Apple, Amazon, Facebook and Google. The probe determined that the antitrust laws would have a noticeable impact on those companies, but was unclear about Microsoft, which was not one of the companies investigated by the committee.
Jordan wrote in a letter to Smith, which was obtained by CNBC and published on Monday, to ask about the company and how it would be affected by the bills.
“Does Microsoft consider itself to be a ‘covered platform’ as defined in the antitrust legislation,” he asked, adding: “If the antitrust legislation introduced by House Democrats becomes law, will Microsoft stop exerting editorial control over user content on its platforms?”
Rep. David Cicilline, D-R.I., who chairs the House Judiciary subcommittee on antitrust, told Axios: “I don’t know whether Microsoft would meet the test that is set forth in these five bills.”
Smith said on Bloomberg TV, “There are aspects of the legislation that was introduced in the House last week that absolutely applies to Microsoft and many other companies.”
In the letter, Jordan also asked Smith to “explain Microsoft’s basis for censoring user content about Hunter Biden,” and to “explain Microsoft’s basis for censoring user content about the origins of COVID-19,” as well as “provide an accounting of all content moderation decisions made by LinkedIn over the last two years for users located within the United States or China, including which LinkedIn rule or policy the user allegedly violated and the content of the moderated post.”
The congressman claims that “Multiple LinkedIn users have reported Microsoft’s censorship of posts related to Hunter Biden, son of President Joe Biden. In one case, LinkedIn removed a post about an official U.S. Senate committee report concerning Hunter Biden. In another case, LinkedIn censored a post by the former general counsel of the National Security Agency about Big Tech’s suppression of the Hunter Biden laptop scandal.”
He said that the social media website “also censored a post by an opinion editor at the Washington Times about Democrats’ abuse of executive orders and removed a post that linked to a study challenging prevailing liberal views on climate change.”
Jordan also claimed that “LinkedIn has restricted accounts for posts related to COVID-19. Citing its ‘misinformation’ policy, LinkedIn censored posts that the coronavirus originated from a dangerous laboratory in Wuhan, China, as well as posts that criticized government-mandated mask requirements.”
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