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House Judiciary Committee to Consider Recommending Congress Impose Contempt on Mark Zuckerberg

The House Judiciary Committee is set to discuss whether or not to recommend that Congress hold Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg in contempt for refusing to comply with a subpoena for internal company documents related to online censorship.

According to Meta, they have already provided tens of thousands of pages of documents in response to congressional requests. However, lawmakers suspect that the company has withheld information about its interactions with the Biden administration, potentially suggesting coordination in terms of censorship.

The judiciary committee will convene to review a contempt report, urging the House to find that Zuckerberg willfully refused to cooperate with Congress.

A finding of contempt for failing to comply with a valid congressional subpoena can result in a misdemeanor criminal offense, according to the Congressional Research Service.

The judiciary committee’s contempt report accuses Meta and Zuckerberg of not fully complying with the congressional subpoena, which was part of an investigation into the executive branch’s coordination with social media companies to censor free speech online. The report emphasizes the threat that censorship poses to American civil liberties.

The House Judiciary Committee Chairman, Jim Jordan, issued the subpoena to Meta on February 15, specifically seeking information about the company’s interactions with the Biden administration.

According to the contempt report, Meta has only handed over “fewer than 40 pages of internal documents” and communications with external entities since the subpoena was issued.

A spokesperson for Meta, Andy Stone, stated that the company has been operating in good faith and has already shared over 53,000 pages of documents, both internal and external. Stone also mentioned that current and former employees have been made available to discuss relevant matters.

The consequences for Zuckerberg, both legally and politically, if the House approves a contempt citation are yet to be determined. However, it is worth noting that former Trump adviser Steve Bannon was convicted of contempt of Congress in 2022.

Contempt of Congress violations can result in fines of up to $100,000 and imprisonment for a month to a year.

It is unlikely that the House Judiciary Committee’s requests for information from Meta will cease anytime soon. The committee has already set a July 31 deadline for Meta to answer questions about Threads, a new microblogging platform launched by Zuckerberg.

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