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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

Rohingya refugees sue Facebook over Myanmar hate speech

Internally displaced Rohingya peoples at a market area in the Baw Du Pha IDP Camp in Sittwe in Myanmar's western Rakhine state. Photo: STR/AFP via Getty Images

Rohingya refugees accused Facebook in a $150 million lawsuit filed Monday of amplifying hate speech against the persecuted minority Muslims in Myanmar via algorithms and failing to take down inflammatory posts.

Why it matters: Thousands of Rohingya Muslims have been killed in Myanmar in what the United Nations deemed a genocidal campaign. Tens of thousands of others have been displaced, notably following a massacre by Myanmar's military in 2017.

Former D.C. Guard alleges Army generals lied about Jan. 6 response

Members of the National Guard and Capitol police keep a small group of pro-Trump demonstrators away from the Capitol following the insurrection on Jan. 6. Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

A former D.C. National Guard official has alleged that Army generals "lied" to Congress in their testimony on the U.S. Capitol riot, Politico first reported Monday.

The big picture: Col. Earl Matthews, who was serving on Jan. 6, alleges in a memo that the official version on the military response is "worthy of the best Stalinist or North Korea propagandist" and that the Pentagon inspector general's November report on it features "myriad inaccuracies, false or misleading statements, or examples of faulty analysis."

Toyota to build $1.3 billion U.S. battery plant in North Carolina

The all-electric Toyota bZ4X, the company's first battery-electric vehicle, at the Los Angeles Auto Show in Los Angeles, California on Nov. 17. Photo: Frederic J. Brown/AFP via Getty Images

Toyota announced Monday it's investing $1.3 billion to construct an electric vehicle battery "megasite" near Greensboro, North Carolina, set to open in 2025.

Why it matters: Toyota's Prius hybrid won environmental plaudits when it launched in 1997, but it has since lost ground to electric vehicle world leader Tesla, per Axios' Joann Muller. This battery plant will be the first to produce automotive batteries for Toyota in North America.

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