The House committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol subpoenaed some of the country’s largest social media and tech companies on Thursday, arguing they had not been forthcoming following an August request for information.
The four subpoenas were sent to Facebook parent company Meta, Twitter, Reddit and Alphabet’s YouTube.
“Two key questions for the Select Committee are how the spread of misinformation and violent extremism contributed to the violent attack on our democracy, and what steps—if any—social media companies took to prevent their platforms from being breeding grounds for radicalizing people to violence,” Committee Chair Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) said in a statement.
“It’s disappointing that after months of engagement, we still do not have the documents and information necessary to answer those basic questions.”
In one of its first formal actions, the committee in late August sent a request to 15 websites and tech companies, asking them to preserve records tied to the Jan. 6 riot.
The panel requested internal and external reviews of 2020 election misinformation or violent extremism, all content given to law enforcement related to those subjects and all relevant internal communications.
The goal has been to ascertain how social media was used to organize the attack, the extent the sites contribute to radicalization and the spread of disinformation, and what the companies know about their use in the attack itself.
But the sweeping request for information seems to have largely come to a standstill with some of the tech giants, the panel said.
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