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House Judiciary Committee Alleges Corporate Collusion to Control Online Speech

House Judiciary Committee Alleges Corporate Collusion to Control Online Speech

Jul 10, 2024

House Judiciary Committee Alleges Corporate Collusion to Control Online Speech

The House Judiciary Committee has released an interim staff report entitled "GARM's Harm: How the World's Biggest Brands Seek to Control Online Speech," accusing large corporations and advertising agencies of concerted efforts to control online content through the Global Alliance for Responsible Media (GARM). The committee suggests that these entities have allegedly attempted to demonetize platforms, podcasts, news outlets, and other content contrary to their preferences, raising significant concerns about censorship and corporate influence over public discourse.

According to the report, GARM, an initiative under the World Federation of Advertisers (WFA), has been involved in boycotts and other actions to financially undermine platforms such as X (Twitter) following Elon Musk's acquisition, as well as efforts to pressure Spotify into censoring podcast host Joe Rogan over his views on the COVID-19 vaccine. Additionally, GARM Steer Team member Unilever allegedly sought to have a Trump campaign ad flagged as misinformation on Facebook.

Documents cited by the committee indicate an anti-conservative bias within GARM's leadership, with discussions about placing conservative media outlets like The Daily Wire, Fox News, and Breitbart on exclusion lists. The committee's findings suggest that GARM's activities extend beyond their stated goal of promoting "brand safety" and veer into the realm of content moderation, potentially influencing which content appears online.

The report's release coincided with a House Judiciary Committee hearing where testimony was expected from executives of Unilever USA and GroupM. Chairman Jim Jordan (R-OH) raised the possibility of antitrust law violations in their alleged efforts to deprive certain media outlets and personalities of advertising dollars.

Critics of GARM, such as Breitbart News, view the organization's actions as a form of shadowy corporate coordination aimed at silencing conservative viewpoints. The committee's investigation continues, with potential legislative reforms on the horizon to address the concerns raised by these alleged collusive practices.

The implications of the committee's findings could reshape the conversation around corporate influence, online speech, and the role of advertising in the digital marketplace. The House Judiciary Committee has pledged to further investigate the companies involved in the conduct described in the report.

House Judiciary Committee Press Release

Breitbart Article


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