Republican Social Media Resolution Goes Down in House E&C Committee

Rep. Frank Pallone (D-N.J.)
Rep. Frank Pallone (D-N.J.) (Image credit: U.S. House via YouTube)

The House Energy & Commerce Committee voted 28-23 along party lines not to recommend a Republican-backed resolution of inquiry to the full House (opens in new tab). The resolution called out the Biden administration for alleged coordination with social media companies to censor speech and sought documents related to that alleged effort.

But while the resolution failed, it signaled what Republicans could be focusing on when they take over House chairmanships next month.

In what was likely the last committee gathering and action in this Congress, and before Republicans take over with pledges of vigorous oversight and investigation of the administration and Big Tech, committee chairman Rep. Frank Pallone Jr. (D-N.J.) called it an out-of-touch, frivolous and partisan inquiry that was in contrast to the committee’s productive work that preceded it.

The resolution was driven in part by new Twitter owner Elon Musk’s release of internal documents he claims support allegations of shadow-banning conservatives.

Committee ranking member Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.) countered that the inquiry was necessary and about “putting people before politics.” She said for years Big Tech had been flagging, suppressing and “outright banning conservatives on their platforms.”

She said Big Tech had denied accusations of such conduct, including before the committee. “Now, thanks to the recent Twitter files, we know that they were not being honest.” She said the documents showed that Twitter executives were shadow-banning conservatives despite then-Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey’s claims to the contrary.

Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.) called the effort misguided and a poor use of the committee's time. ▪️

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.