Jordan Intensifies Stanford Censorship Probe, Threatens Subpoena Enforcement

June 4th, 2023 5:49 PM

Congressman Jim Jordan (R-OH) is not letting Stanford University off the hook for refusing to provide information about how its Internet Observatory program “flags” so-called misinformation. 

In a letter sent on Thursday, Jordan informed Stanford’s legal team that the university gave “insufficient” compliance with an April subpoena for documents related to the Stanford Internet Observatory’s involvement in censoring “disfavored speech.” The university now has until June 14 to comply, or the committee will “be forced to consider the use of one or more enforcement mechanisms.” According to the Daily Wire, these mechanisms could include “criminal contempt of Congress, civil enforcement, or ‘inherent contempt.’”

Two projects of the Stanford Internet Observatory (SIO program), which was founded in 2019, use the Jira Ticketing System to flag alleged misinformation. Republicans slammed both projects – the Election Integrity Partnership (EIP) and the Virality Project (VP) – after The Twitter Files parts 18 and 19 revealed that the entities worked with the federal government to censor certain views as misinformation even if that information was true. The groups censored those concerned about fraud in the 2022 election as well as those who questioned the efficacy of the COVID-19 vaccine. Now the Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government in the House Judiciary Committee is determined to find the truth about the full impact the censorship had on the American people.

Jordan says SIO knew about and assisted in the censorship. “[I]ndividuals affiliated with SIO tracked both specific posts and entire ‘narratives’ through the Jira ticketing system and shared them, at a minimum, with large social media companies,” he said. “Public and non- public information obtained by the Committee confirms that large social media companies moderated content based upon these tickets and other information shared by Stanford personnel.”

In his testimony before the subcommittee, Michael Shellenberger, a journalist who has reported on the files, accused the Election Integrity Partnership of being the “seed of the censorship industrial complex.”

“They aren’t asking for a national debate over the limits of the First Amendment,” he scathingly wrote. “Rather, they are creating blacklists of disfavored people and then pressuring, cajoling, and demanding that social media platforms censor, deamplify, and even ban the people on these blacklists.”

Shellenberger said the Virality Project did the same thing with so-called misinformation about COVID-19. “[Virality Project] did the exact same kinds of censorship except focused on censoring COVID-19 information,” Shellenberger said, referencing VP’s admission of government-approved censorship.

Conservatives are under attack. Contact your representatives and demand that Big Tech be held to account to mirror the First Amendment. If you have been censored, contact us at the Media Research Center contact form, and help us hold Big Tech accountable.