The House select committee said the tech giants had “inadequate responses to prior requests for information.”
What you need to know
- A House committee issued subpoenas to four major tech companies investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol.
- Alphabet, Meta, Twitter and Reddit have been asked for more information on misinformation, domestic extremism and efforts to influence the 2020 election.
- The select committee had previously requested the records but claimed it had received insufficient responses.
Parler was one of the social networking companies responsible for the January 6 attack on the Capitol last year. Its mobile app has been removed from Google Play and the Apple App Store due to lack of moderation and, more importantly, supporters of former President Donald Trump who used the platform to stage violent unrest.
Big tech isn’t immune to their role in this horrific event, either. The House select committee investigating the attack has subpoenaed Alphabet, Meta (formerly Facebook), Reddit and Twitter as part of the probe.
Lawmakers have demanded that the companies provide internal records related to the spread of misinformation on their respective platforms, domestic terrorism and attempts to rig the 2020 election.
“Two key questions for the select committee are how the spread of misinformation and violent extremism fuels violent attacks on our democracy, and what, if any, social media companies are doing to prevent their platforms from becoming a source of radicalisation turned into a hotbed of violence,” Chairman Benny Thompson (D-Miss.) said in a news release.
The committee had previously asked 15 social media companies to provide internal documents that could expose congressional riots. For example, the records may help answer questions about how the company responded to the events that led to the attack. However, the tech giant doesn’t seem to be taking the request seriously.
“It’s disappointing that, after months of engagement, we still don’t have the documentation and information we need to answer these fundamental questions,” Thompson said.
In the letter to tech companies, Thompson listed the types of information the committee was trying to obtain, including documents related to YouTube policies that led to the suspension of former President Trump’s account.
The group also asked for details on why Facebook “disbanded its civic integrity team focused on election risks, including misinformation, and reduced the use of tools used to limit the spread of violent content.”
Twitter also failed to comply with requests for internal documents related to misinformation related to the 2020 election, Thompson’s letter said. Meanwhile, the special committee is investigating how Reddit “enabled or contributed to the attack on the U.S. Capitol, and how it developed, evolved, and operated.”