Republicans invite Parler CEO to rumble with Silicon Valley giants

Conservatives have long argued that Twitter unfairly censors people on the right––a contention the company vehemently disputes. The network has banned a variety of far-right personalities for violating its terms of service, which has generated great disgruntlement in some circles.

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 will be on PARLER celebrating Independence Day with the rest of the patriots!” Nunes tweeted jubilantly on Independence Day.

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. And the hearing could be a historic moment in the complex relationship between Silicon Valley and Washington.

The committee has been scrutinizing the companies for months for anti-competitive practices, and is expected to release a report on its findings this summer. That undertaking began with broad bipartisan support.

But the Republicans’ letters suggest their concerns about partisan social media censorship––which their Democratic colleagues emphatically do not share––will gain significant airtime at the hearing.

The letter charges that Twitter “has sought to silence conservative voices” while leaving untouched tweets from Iran’s supreme leader calling for the destruction of Israel.

Jordan sent a letter yesterday raising different concerns about the hearing and Democrats’ approach to the tech probe. The letter accused Democrats of negotiating in bad faith with the tech companies and with Republicans, and criticized them for having the tech CEO hearing before the subcommittee rather than the full committee. Jordan is the top Republican on the committee.

“Although Republicans look forward to this hearing, we were surprised to learn it would not occur at the full committee — the venue that makes the most sense given the scope of the committee’s investigation, the broad interest from members of both parties who do not serve on the subcommittee, and the significance of the witnesses who will testify,” Jordan wrote Tuesday.