Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita announced Wednesday he has launched an investigation into five Big Tech companies for allegedly censoring conservative content.
The statement from Rokita’s office said that the investigation centered around whether the companies “have potentially harmed Indiana consumers through business practices that are abusive, deceptive and/or unfair.”
“In particular, Attorney General Rokita is probing methods by which the companies have limited consumers’ access to certain content — often deleting or obscuring posted material reflecting a politically conservative point of view,” the statement said. “Such manipulation prevents consumers from making informed choices.”
“In a free society, few assets are more important to consumers than access to information and the opportunity to express political viewpoints in meaningful forums,” Rokita said. “It is potentially harmful and unfair for these companies to manipulate content in ways they do not publicly discuss or that consumers do not fully understand.”
Rokita is also probing alleged actions taken by attorney Vanita Gupta, a far-left activist that President Joe Biden has nominated to be associate attorney general at the Department of Justice, to “encourage the companies to censor conservative viewpoints.” The five companies that Rokita is probing include Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google, and Twitter.
The statement said that Gupta “has allegedly met with Facebook and Twitter executives to urge ‘more rigorous rules and enforcement,’ to use her own words as quoted in Time.”
“Gupta, according to the Time article, stressed that it was important for social media platforms to be ‘tagging things and taking them down,'” the statement added.
A 450-page report released last year after an investigation by the House Subcommittee on Antitrust, Commercial and Administrative Law concluded that Amazon, Apple, Google and Facebook have “‘monopoly power’ in key business segments and have abused their dominance in the marketplace, in a full-throated condemnation of the giants,” CNN reported.
The report said that the companies have “too much power” and that their power “must be reined in and subject to appropriate oversight and enforcement.”
“The Subcommittee’s series of hearings produced significant evidence that these firms wield their dominance in ways that erode entrepreneurship, degrade Americans’ privacy online, and undermine the vibrancy of the free and diverse press,” the report said. “The result is less innovation, fewer choices for consumers, and a weakened democracy.”
“Much like the railroad tycoons and telecom barons of yesteryear, modern day tech giants have amassed tremendous market share over vital levers of commerce — search engines, app stores and social media services,” CNN added. “But unlike prior monopolistic industries, the subcommittee attorney said, tech companies have successfully used the data they accumulate in one area of business to gain tremendous advantages when they expand into related businesses.”
Conservative Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas suggested this week that the companies could be regulated like utility companies.
This report has been updated to include additional information.