WASHINGTON – A House committee is investigating. The six attacks on Capitol on Thursday issued subpoints to four major social media companies – Alphabet, Meta, Reddit and Twitter – criticizing them for spreading extremism on their platforms and saying they had failed to provide adequate co-operation in the investigation.
In a letter to Subpoina, a panel called Facebook, a unit of Meta and YouTube, which is owned by Google, a subsidiary of Alphabet, was named as one of the worst perpetrators of misinformation and contributing to the spread of violent extremism. The committee said it was investigating how companies “contributed to a violent attack on our democracy, and what steps social media companies took – if any – to prevent their platforms from becoming a breeding ground for people to turn violent.”
“It’s disappointing that months after the engagement, we still don’t have the documents and information needed to answer those basic questions,” said Benny Thompson, a Democrat from Mississippi who chaired the panel.
The committee sent letters to 15 social media companies in August – spreading false information about election fraud, such as the pro-Trump website TheDonald.win – including violent documents relating to attempts to turn the election around and any local extremists associated with January. . 6 Rally and attack.
After months of discussions with the companies, only four large corporations were issued subpoints on Thursday, as the committee said the companies were “not willing to commit voluntarily and quickly” to co-operate in its work. The committee said investigators were at various stages of negotiations with other companies.
In the year following the events of Jan. 6, Social media companies have been heavily investigated for whether their sites played a role in planning the attack.
In the months leading up to the 2020 election, employees inside Meta raised warning signs that Facebook posts and comments containing “combative election misinformation” were spreading rapidly across the social network, according to a collection of documents and photos reviewed by The New York Times. Many of those employees criticized the inaction of the Facebook leadership when it came to the spread of the QAnon conspiracy group, which they said also contributed to the attack.
Francis Hodge, a former Facebook employee who became a whistle-blower, said the company eased its security measures too soon after the election, which led to its use in the Capitol storm.
Critics say other platforms also played a key role in spreading misinformation while contributing to the Jan incidents. 6.
In the days following the attack, Reddit former President Donald J. Banned the discussion forum dedicated to Trump, where thousands of Mr. Trump supporters regularly called on him to show solidarity.
On Twitter, many Mr. Trump’s followers used the site to spread and spread election fraud lies, while collaborating with other Trump supporters and conspiracy theorists. And on YouTube, some users are broadcasting January events. 6 using the platform’s video streaming technology.
Representatives of the tech companies are discussing with the inquiry committee, although it is unclear how much evidence or user records the companies have submitted.
The committee said letters were sent to four companies along with the subpoena.
The panel said YouTube served as a “platform for significant communication by its users related to the planning and execution of the January 6 attack on the United States Capitol,” including the livestreams of the way it was happening.
“To date, YouTube has been a platform on which users spread false information about video elections,” he said. Thompson wrote.
Facebook and other meta, the panel said The platform was used to share messages of “hate, violence and incitement”; Spreading misinformation, misinformation and conspiracy theories around elections; And try to coordinate or coordinate the Stop the Steel movement. “
The panel said public accounts about Facebook’s civic integrity team indicate that Facebook has documents that are important to the selection committee’s investigation.
Mr. Thompson wrote a letter to Mark Zuckerberg, chief executive of Matana.
Key figures in January. 6 Inquiries
The panel said it focuses on Reddit Because the platform hosted the r / The_Donald subredit community that grew significantly before migrating to TheDonald.win website in 2020, which eventually led to significant discussions and planning related to January. 6 attack.
Investigators said on Twitter Subscribers used the platform to plan and execute an attack on the Capitol, and Twitter was warned of possible violence on the site. Twitter users are also engaged in increasing communication of election fraud. Trump.
“Unfortunately, the selection committee believes that Twitter has failed to disclose important information,” the panel said.
In recent years, Big Tech and Washington have had a history of scratching their heads. Some Republicans have accused sites including Facebook, Instagram and Twitter of silencing conservative voices.
The Federal Trade Commission is investigating whether a number of tech companies have grown too large and abused their market power to prevent competition in the process. And a bipartisan group of senators and delegates says sites like Facebook and YouTube are not doing enough to stop the spread of misinformation and conspiracy theories.
Google said in a statement that it was cooperating with the committee and that the company had “strict policies prohibiting content that incites violence or undermines confidence in elections” that it had implemented before and after January. 6.
Meta said he “submitted the documents to the committee at the request of the schedule committee staff – and we will continue to do so.”
A Twitter spokesman declined to comment.
A Reddit spokesman said the firm had received subpoenas and would “continue to work with the committee on their requests.”
The panel interviewed more than 340 witnesses and issued dozens of subpoints, including bank and phone records.