Republican Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio sent an official letter to Microsoft on Monday, accusing the big tech giant of censoring publications about China, Hunter Biden and urging Microsoft Word users to use “neutral in terms of language. gender ”.
In a letter to Microsoft President Brad Smith, Jordan said big tech companies, including Microsoft, were “in the process of winning curators,” adding that its exercise of “editorial control over user-generated content” was “Orwellian.”
He stressed his control over the content of its platforms, including Linkedin and the Bing search engine, as examples.
Regarding Bing, Jordan said the search engine censored results on “Tank Man,” the notorious civilian dissident of the Tiananmen Square protests.
“On behalf of the Chinese Communist Party, Microsoft censored Bing research
Tank Man’s engine results on the anniversary of the Tiananmen Square protests – including
results for users in the United States – and muzzled the voices of Chinese critics on LinkedIn. “
Also on Linkedin, Jordan reported instances in which the site censored negative reporting on President Joe Biden’s son, Hunter, and an article on a “official report of the US Senate committee“on its relations in Ukraine, as well as articles on the origins of COVID-19 at the Wuhan Institute of Virology. Jordan said that Linkedin also” deleted an article related to a study questioning mainstream liberal views on climate change “.
The congressman also criticized House Democrats, who he said failed to properly examine “Microsoft’s conduct in their investigation of competition in digital markets.”
“It is not clear why Microsoft has avoided special attention from House Democrats. The Democrats ‘investigation excluded Microsoft from significant scrutiny, and the recently introduced Democrats’ bills include a definition of a “covered platform” that could be interpreted as excluding Microsoft, “Jordan continued.
Jordan called on Congress to, among other things, determine why Microsoft was “censoring user content” on alleged Hunter Biden scandals, the possible origins of COVID-19 and other issues.
Jordan is the highest ranking Republican member of the House Judiciary Committee, with his letter coming as legislation is considered to consider amending antitrust laws in a way that would impact tech giants Facebook, Amazon, Google and Apple, according to CNBC.
His letter, however, is not without criticism, as libertarian-leaning publication Reason magazine criticized the congressman’s claims, calling them a “fragile crusade.”
In a column published on TuesdayReason Editor-in-Chief Elizabeth Nolan Brown wrote that Jordan’s accusations against Microsoft “are largely based on a few anecdotes about the removal of Microsoft-owned LinkedIn posts about Joe Biden’s son, Hunter, the recent decrees or COVID-19 ”.
She added that while one or two posts criticizing Hunter Biden have been deleted, many others have never been censored, opening up the possibility of other explanations for their deletion.
“Jordan’s argument is simply that Microsoft may have made a handful of content moderation decisions that it doesn’t like, so the federal interference is warranted,” she wrote.
Brown agreed with Jordan that “he is strange that Microsoft has been so absent from today’s excessive antitrust stimulus.
“Although Microsoft was the bane of antitrust fanatics in the 1990s and early 2000s… it largely escaped the wrath of today’s crusaders against tech companies,” Brown continued.
“At the time, the company had a cultural cache and growing power. Today, it’s still a powerhouse, but it doesn’t spark the sense of culture warfare in the same way, say, Facebook and Google.