Twitter, Reddit, and the parent companies of Facebook and Google have been subpoenaed by a House panel looking into the deadly Capitol riot, the panel’s chair said Thursday.
The bipartisan committee had asked for a lot of records from these and other social media companies last summer, but some of the biggest platforms didn’t give them enough information, the committee said in a report.
Google parent company Alphabet, Twitter, Reddit, and Meta, which used to be called Facebook, have been asked again to hand over a lot of information about domestic terrorism, the spread of misinformation, and efforts to influence or overturn the 2020 election.
Chairman Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., said in a statement Thursday that two of the main issues for the Select Committee are how misinformation and violent extremism spread, and what steps social media companies took to keep their platforms from becoming places where people could be radicalized to do things like attack people and kill people.
As a result of a lot of work, “We still don’t have the documents and information that would be necessary for us to answer those simple questions,” Thompson said. In order to help the American people, the Select Committee is trying to get answers for them and make sure that nothing like January 6th ever happens again. Our important work can’t be put off any longer.
A Reddit spokesperson said the company had been served with a subpoena. In a statement, they said they would keep working with the committee on their requests. A Twitter representative refused to say anything.
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An official from Google said the following: “We’ve been working with the Select Committee since they started their investigation, and we’re committed to working with Congress through this process.” We have very strict rules about content that incites violence or harms trust in elections on YouTube and Google products. We enforced these rules in the run-up to January 6 and still do so today. We keep an eye on things and work hard to keep our platforms safe from people who misuse them.
Facebook is working with the committee to give them the information they asked for, a statement from Meta said. Since then, Meta has sent documents to the committee on a schedule the committee’s staff asked for. We will keep doing this, too.
The committee is supposed to look into the facts and causes of the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, in which hundreds of supporters of former President Trump stormed the building and put a hold on Joe Biden’s transition of power.
Social media companies may have kept important information from the House investigation from them, Thompson said in letters to each of the four companies, as well.
Thompson told Sundar Pichai, the CEO of Alphabet, that the company didn’t show him documents about how the company talked about content moderation and the policies that led to President Trump’s suspension from Google-owned YouTube after the riot in the Capitol in March.
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Thompson also said Meta hasn’t given him documents about Facebook’s team that worked on election risks before the invasion. Meta has said that it doesn’t believe that it broke up the “Citizenship Integrity” team. VP of Integrity Guy Rosen tweeted that it had been “integrated” into a larger integrity team in October. The work “continues to this day,” he said.
The chairman said Reddit didn’t do a “thorough review of its records” in response to the committee’s requests. He also said that Twitter hasn’t given him documents that fully explain why it took down Trump’s account.
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