Tech

Facebook, Google, Twitter and Reddit assigned by Jan. 6th commission

Facebook, Google, Twitter and Reddit have been subpoenaed by the Select Committee of Congress investigating the Jan 6th Uprising at the United States Capitol. In a statement, the committee said the companies’ responses so far have been “inadequate.”

“Two key questions for the select committee are how the spread of disinformation and violent extremism has contributed to the violent attack on our democracy, and what steps – if any – social media companies have taken to prevent their platforms from being fertile ground for radicalizing people to violence, ”said committee chair Bennie Thompson (D-MS).

“It is disappointing that after months of engagement, we still do not have the necessary documents and information to answer these fundamental questions. The select committee is working to get answers for the American people and to help ensure that nothing like January 6 does happen again. We cannot allow our important work to be delayed any further. “

The committee is looking for a series of records related to user activity on Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and Reddit, as well as internal business management documents for the month of January. 6th. As a stipulation of these new subpoenas, all companies were given a deadline of January 27 to submit the documents to the committee.

In a letter Addressed to Mark Zuckerberg, Thompson discusses Facebook’s management of the “Stop the Steal” movement that has been organized on its platform. An internal memo explained how Facebook did not recognize the danger posed by the groups until after the January 6 violence. The letter also refers to the testimony of whistleblower Frances Haugen, who told Congress last year that Facebook disbanded its civic integrity team after the election.

In a letter to Google CEO Sundar Pichai, Thompson said the select committee “believes Alphabet has important undisclosed information that is critical to its investigation, regarding how Alphabet has developed, implemented and reviewed its content moderation , its algorithmic promotion, demonetization and other policies that may have affected the events of January 6, 2021. ”He notes that some rioters broadcast the attack live on YouTube and that disinformation about the elections is spreading on the platform -form “to date”.

Thompson’s letter to recently installed Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal notes that Jack Dorsey testified that Twitter played a role in the events of January 6. “Twitter has not fully adhered to or even committed to respecting a timetable to comply with the request of the select committee for internal analyzes of the company on disinformation, disinformation and misinformation regarding the 2020 elections, efforts to challenge or annul the elections; and the use of Twitter by domestic violent extremists or malicious foreign influences to affect the 2020 election, ”writes Thompson.

For Reddit, the committee seems primarily concerned with the r / The_Donald subreddit, which was banned in June 2020, as well as r / donaldtrump, which launched on the platform on January 8, 2021. The letter notes that the r / The_Donald community migrated to TheDonald.win, where there was “a significant amount of online discussion and planning” related to the insurgency.

A Twitter spokesperson declined to comment on the subpoena. Representatives for Meta, Reddit and Google did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

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