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In cover letters obtained by The Daily Wire, Chairman Jim Jordan (R-OH) wrote that the Global Alliance for Responsible Media (GARM) and the group that created it — World Federation of Advertisers (WFA) — may be facilitating coordination by its members in a manner that violates U.S. antitrust law.
“To advance our oversight and inform potential legislation related to these collusive practices, the Committee must understand whether, how, and to what extent GARM and WFA facilitate collusion to prevent certain content from benefiting from advertising dollars and to reduce that content’s presence online,” Jordan wrote to King & Spalding, the law firm representing the collectives.
GARM is a “cross-industry initiative” established in 2019 to “address the challenge of harmful content on digital media platforms and its monetization via advertising,” according to WFA.
The stated ambition of GARM is “to get the digital media ecosystem working together on the shared priorities that will lead to the removal of harmful content from advertiser-supported social media.” The WFA website shows GARM has dozens of members, including Budweiser-owner Anheuser-Busch InBev, Goldman Sachs, Johnson & Johnson, McDonald’s, Meta, Twitter, and YouTube.
WEF, which critics view as a hub for elites who favor global policies that threaten liberties, boasts on its website how GARM is a partner that is “creating a safe ecosystem.” Yet there has been pushback against companies that censor and demonetize content, particularly by conservatives who believe they are being punished for political reasons.
Jordan writes that the House Judiciary Committee has sought documents and communications “related to how GARM and WFA act to demonetize and eliminate disfavored content online, in addition to other information” ever since March of this year.
Jordan said GARM’s initiative lead and co-founder, Robert Rakowitz, provided a response on April 7 saying the groups “welcome the opportunity to provide information to the Committee and are committed to cooperating with our inquiry” and alluded to a WFA proposal that led to the creation of GARM that would appear to be responsive to the panel’s requests.
But, according to Jordan, that document was never shared with the committee and despite assurances that there would be cooperation, neither GARM nor WFA have provided any documents.
The subpoenas, addressed to WFA President Raja Rajamannar and Rakowitz, demand records from January 1, 2019 to the present related to GARM, its guidelines, communications among members about targeting “disfavored content” online including with the executive branch of the U.S. government, and “free speech” considerations. Deadlines are set for May 26.
The Daily Wire has reached out to WFA and King & Spalding for comment, but neither has replied.