Washington, D.C. – House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) today issued a statement following the failure of Facebook, Google, and Twitter to attend a hearing on social media filtering practices to which they had been invited:

Chairman Goodlatte: “I’m extremely disappointed that some of the Internet’s largest speech platforms refused to testify today. We know that these social media platforms remove content. As legitimate businesses, they must ensure that their services aren’t being abused for illegal purposes such as fraud and identity theft. There is, however, a big difference between removing illegal activity and suppressing speech. Americans recognize that and they want to know why they’re being banned, blocked, or labeled online, which is why we asked Facebook, Twitter, and Google to participate in today’s hearing.

“Unfortunately, these platforms, who purport to ‘help people connect,’ appear more interested in saving face than engaging on the issues face-to-face. This Committee will take whatever steps necessary to obtain answers directly from these tech companies so that we can better understand their filtering practices in order to promote freedom of speech on the Internet.”