U.S. representatives Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) and James Sensenbrenner (R-Wisc.) asked the head of upstart social media service Parler to weigh in ahead of an antitrust hearing with several top tech companies.
The lawmakers sent a letter on Wednesday afternoon to Parler CEO John Matze asking him to weigh in on “the state of competition in social media.”
“Parler differentiates itself on the quality and features of its platform— namely, its commitment to not ‘censor or editorialize, share or sell user data,’” the lawmakers wrote. “This commitment positions Parler in stark contrast to Twitter, which has made increasingly clear in recent weeks and months that only users who refrain from expressing certain unfavored political beliefs are welcome to fully participate on its platform. In turn, Parler’s commitment to free expression takes the place of price as an incentive driving consumer behavior.”
On the same day, the two representatives sent a letter to Twitter’s CEO asking for a host of materials, including explanations of all moderating decisions made in the U.S. over the last year. They also asked for all of Twitter’s internal communications about the decision to fact-check one of President Donald Trump’s tweets and apply a warning to another.
Parler bills itself as something of a free speech alternative to Twitter, and a number of prominent conservatives –– including Rep. Devin Nunes and Sen. Ted Cruz –– have opened profiles on the site and promoted it to their Twitter followers.
I’m proud to join @parler_app — a platform gets what free speech is all about — and I’m excited to be a part of it. Let’s speak. Let’s speak freely. And let’s end the Silicon Valley censorship. Follow me there @tedcruz! pic.twitter.com/pzUFvhipBZ
— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) June 25, 2020
— Devin Nunes (@DevinNunes) June 25, 2020
The Republicans’ requests come as the date nears for the House Judiciary Committee’s antitrust panel hearing with the CEOs of Apple, Amazon, Facebook and Google parent company Alphabet.
MacDailyNews Take: Besides Matze’s participation, this may prove to be an interesting hearing regarding which companies are actually in violation of antitrust law and which are not. Apple should have nothing to fear, unlike Alphabet’s Google.