WASHINGTON – Months after requesting documents from more than a dozen social platforms, the committee investigating the Capitol uprising has issued subpoenas targeting Twitter, Meta, Reddit and YouTube after its founders. The law said the companies’ initial response was inadequate.
The committee chair, Rep. Bennie Thompson, requested records from the companies on Thursday regarding their role in allegedly spreading disinformation about the 2020 election and promoting violent extremism in the country on their platforms ahead of the uprising on January 6, 2021.
“The two key questions for the Selection Committee are how the spread of disinformation and violent extremism have contributed to the violent assault on our democracy and what steps have been taken to prevent it. What – if any – social media companies have taken to prevent their platforms from becoming a base for violent extremists,” Thompson, D-Miss., said in the letter.
Thompson added that it is “disappointing that after months of engagement,” the four companies have not voluntarily turned over the information and documents needed to help lawmakers answer the central questions of the investigation. their.
In his letter, Thompson outlined how the companies were complicit in the deadly uprising waged by Donald Trump supporters and far-right groups.
YouTube, which is owned by Alphabet, is the platform on which a large amount of communications “relevant to the planning and execution” of the siege of the Capitol, “including live broadcasts of the attack.” public while it is happening,” the letter states.
The Commission said how Meta, formerly known as Facebook, was alleged to have been used to exchange hateful, violent and inciting messages between users and to spread misinformation that the general election was being held. The 2020 system is fraudulent in an effort to coordinate the “Stop Theft” movement.
On Reddit, the r/The-Donald “subreddit” community grew significantly, the letter said, before members moved to an official website, where investigators believe the discussions swirled around. The plan of the attack was organized. A Reddit spokesperson said Thursday that the company has received a subpoena and “will continue to work with the committee on their requests.”
The letter outlines how Twitter was alerted to potential violence being planned on its platform prior to the attack and how its users engaged in “communication that amplified fraud allegations.” elections, including the former President himself.”
The letter highlights a specific tweet from Trump on December 19, 2020: “Statistically can’t lose the 2020 Election” when he urged followers to come to Washington to participate in a poll. “wild” protests on January 6, 2021.
A Twitter spokesperson declined to comment on the subpoena. Representatives for Meta and Alphabet did not immediately respond to messages seeking comment.
The commission made an initial request for documents from 15 social media companies in August, including TikTok, Parler, Telegram, 4chan, and 8kun.
The subpoenas come as a nine-member committee continues its extensive investigation into how a mob was able to infiltrate the Capitol and disrupt Democrat Joe Biden’s certificate of presidential victory in the contest. The most serious attack on Congress in two centuries.
The committee of seven Democrats and two Republicans interviewed more than 340 people and issued dozens of subpoenas to people in Trump’s inner circle, including his former chief of staff, as well as his former chief of staff. requirements for their colleagues in the House of Commons.
On Wednesday, the committee requested an interview with House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif.
McCarthy as well as the GOP Delegates. Jim Jordan of Ohio and Scott Perry of Pennsylvania declined the committee’s request to sit down for interviews or turn over documents related to their conversations on January 6, 2021, with Trump or others. Close to him were hundreds of his supporters who beat the police, stormed the building and disrupted the certification of the 2020 election.
Associated Press writers David Klepper and Matt O’Brien of Providence, Rhode Island, contributed to this report.