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House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

When the House Judiciary Committee holds a hearing Thursday on whether online platforms censor conservative voices, one advocacy group that had been expected to give in person testimony won't be at the witness table.

Why it matters: The Electronic Frontier Foundation cited concerns the discussion wouldn't be substantive. Its absence could make the hearing, featuring conservative video stars Diamond and Silk and Rep. Marsha Blackburn, even more political.

What they're saying: When the committee announced its hearing focusing, in part, on "whether viewpoints have been silenced on some of the most popular and widely used platforms," it said EFF legal director Corynne McSherry would be a witness. But EFF's legislative counsel Ernesto Falcon said that the group had never committed to testify in person and will instead submit written testimony.

  • “The hearing we thought they were having kind of changed a lot,” he told Axios. “It didn’t look like it was digging into substance.”
  • "Anyone who implies that the loss of engagement and earned media due to social media filtering is not a serious issue deserving of Congress’s attention grossly underestimates the influence of social media in our society," said a House Judiciary Committee aide. "Witnesses who decide to attend will have the opportunity to address these issues head-on and shape future policy."
  • McSherry is still listed as a witness on the committee's website.

What's next: Facebook, Google and Twitter have all been invited to send representatives to the hearing but haven't yet said publicly whether they plan to accept the invitation.

Go deeper

Updated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Report: Pentagon watchdog finds Ronny Jackson drank on duty and harassed staff

Rep. Ronny Jackson walking through the Canon Tunnel to the U.S. Capitol in January. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Getty Images

Rep. Ronny Jackson (R-Texas) allegedly made "sexual and denigrating" comments about a female staffer, drank alcohol and took sleeping medication while working as White House physician, according to a report obtained by CNN Tuesday night.

Driving the news: The Department of Defense inspector general's report stems from a years-long investigation. Jackson has called the allegations "false and fabricated."

DOJ pressed to enforce Al Jazeera foreign agent ruling

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The Justice Department is being pressed to enforce its own demand that the U.S. arm of Qatari broadcaster Al Jazeera register as a foreign agent.

Why it matters: The launch of Al Jazeera's new right-of-center U.S. media venture, Rightly, has refocused attention on the media company's alleged links to Doha, and DOJ's efforts to crack down on media outlets viewed as foreign interest mouthpieces.

Poll: Immigration is America's most-polarizing issue

Data: The American Aspirations Index/Populace; Chart: Will Chase/Axios

Immigration was found to be the most polarizing issue in America based on new polling from Populace.

Why it matters: Americans have surprisingly similar priorities for the U.S., but immigration stands out as one of the few issues with clear partisan differences. It underscores the challenge for advocates and lawmakers hoping to pass immigration reform in the coming weeks amid narrow margins in Congress.

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