The House committee leading the investigation into the January 6 insurrection at the US Capitol issued subpoenas to four major tech companies on Thursday.
January 6 Select Committee Chair Bennie G. Thompson (D-MS) Sent letters to Alphabet, parent company of YouTube, Meta, Reddit and Twitter, parent company of Facebook and Instagram, demanding that these companies provide additional information about how these platforms were used to organize the day’s violent events.
In the announcement, the committee accused each company of hosting content related to planning the attack on the US Capitol. “Meta platforms were used to share messages of hate, violence and incitement; spreading misinformation, misinformation and conspiracy theories around the election; and to coordinate or attempt to coordinate the Stop the Steal movement,” the committee said, noting that it believes Facebook’s Civic Integrity team, since dissolved, possessed information relevant to the investigation.
As Ploonge reported at the time, Facebook was a major hub of the Stop the Steal movement, as the platform failed to control the spread of content denying the legitimate results of the 2020 US presidential election. Facebook was also formerly the organizing platform. chosen by some extremist organizations and militias that played a role in the attack on Capitol Hill, including the Proud Boys and the Three Percenters.
The committee’s complaint with Reddit appears to be focused on r/The_Donald, a notorious subreddit that has migrated to its own domain after being banned for hate speech in late January 2020. The committee also noted that YouTube was used to stream the videos. Twitter events and users “allegedly used the platform for communications regarding the planning and execution of the attack”.
The committee first requested relevant records of 15 different platforms in August of last year, although this round of letters also required input from extremist-friendly websites including 4chan, 8kun, Gab, Parler, and theDonald.win, as well as more traditional social media apps like Snapchat, Twitch, and TikTok. .
The committee is reviewing its previous demands from the top four social platforms after those companies failed to provide sufficiently detailed information “despite repeated and specific requests”, this time with a deadline set for January 27.