Over the last few years, Microsoft has been lucky enough to avoid the attention of crusading antitrust legislators, but the company may have overplayed its hand, after its recent Tiananmen Square fiasco where it censored searches for the image of the so-called Tankman worldwide instead of just in China.
For Republican Representative Jim Jordan, this was a clear sign that the company was “out to get conservatives”.
In a letter, he claimed the company has largely escaped the notice of House Democrats, who have been drawing up legislation aimed at containing companies such as Facebook, Google and Apple.
“Despite Microsoft’s size and market dominance, House Democrats curiously did not significantly examine Microsoft’s conduct during their investigation of competition in digital markets,” the letter reads. “Democrats also seem to have excluded Microsoft from scrutiny in their large package of bills to radically rewrite American antitrust law.”
Despite targeting dominant tech companies, Microsoft has escaped scrutiny, despite having acquired more than 200 companies in the last 10 years and being second in market cap only to Apple.
He cited the Tankman fiasco as evidence of Microsoft’s slant, and accused the company of exercising editorial control in its user-generated content within its Word program, and censorship of certain topics on its LinkedIn platform.
Jordan requested responses to several questions from Microsoft President Brad Smith “immediately,” including this rather bizarre list:
- Does Microsoft consider itself to be a “covered platform” as defined in the antitrust legislation introduced by House Democrats?
- If the antitrust legislation introduced by House Democrats becomes law, will Microsoft stop exerting editorial control over user content on its platforms?
- Please explain Microsoft’s basis for censoring user content about Hunter Biden.
- Please explain Microsoft’s basis for censoring user content about the origins of COVID-19.
- Please provide an accounting of all content moderation decisions made by LinkedIn over the last two years for users located within the United States or China, including which LinkedIn rule or policy the user allegedly violated and the content of the moderated post.
The full letter can be read here.
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