Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita is investigating Big Tech companies, saying they have “potentially harmed” consumers in the state through business practices that limit and censor conservative content, Fox News has learned.
Rokita, on Wednesday, is announcing that he is investigating Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google and Twitter and probing the methods by which the companies have limited consumers’ access to certain content. He points to how the companies are “deleting or obscuring” material that reflect “a politically conservative point of view.”
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Rokita said that “such manipulation prevents consumers form 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.”
The companies did not immediately respond to Fox News’ request for comment.
The investigation comes as Republican lawmakers have criticized big tech and social media companies for censoring and silencing conservatives, after companies like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and YouTube moved to permanently suspend former President Trump from the platforms following the Capitol riot in January.
Just last week, Facebook removed a video of an interview with Trump conducted by his daughter-in-law Lara Trump, saying any content “in the voice of Donald Trump” would be scrubbed from the social media platform.
A group of Trump officials were sent an email from a Facebook employee before the interview was posted, warning that any content posted on Facebook and Instagram “in the voice of President Trump is not currently allowed on our platforms (including new posts with President Trump speaking)” and warned that it “will be removed if posted, resulting in additional limitations on accounts that posted it.”
“This guidance applies to all campaign accounts and Pages, including Team Trump, other campaign messaging vehicles on our platforms, and former surrogates,” the email, posted on Instagram by Trump’s son, Eric Trump, stated.
The interview was eventually posted to Lara Trump’s Facebook page, but was later taken down.
“Hi folks,” a Facebook employee wrote in an email to her with the subject line “Content Removal.”
“We are reaching out to let you know that we removed content from Lara Trump’s Facebook Page that featured President Trump speaking,” the Facebook employee wrote. “In line with the block we placed on Donald Trump’s Facebook and Instagram accounts, further content posted in the voice of Donald Trump will be removed and result in additional limitations on the accounts.”
Lara Trump posted the email to her Instagram.
A source familiar confirmed the authenticity of the messages to Fox News. But Facebook did not comment.
FACEBOOK REMOVES TRUMP INTERVIEW WITH DAUGHTER-IN-LAW LARA TRUMP
Meanwhile, former President Trump and his team are “moving forward” with plans to start their own social media platform, sources familiar with the matter told Fox News last week.
“We’re moving forward,” one source said last week. “And President Trump will have his voice back one way or another.”
The source said they are “taking the time to do it right.”
“You have one shot at it,” the source said. “We’re dotting our Is and crossing our Ts— we’ll be out with something.”
“What they did to Lara was disgraceful,” another source close to Trump told Fox News. “They’re shutting down our voices, anything to do with Trump.”
“It’s not good what’s going on. They are trying to completely silence us,” the source continued.
The source added: “It’s not going to work out all too well though, because we’re firing away and starting up our own stuff right now.”