Capitol Riot Panel Widens Net in Seeking Facebook, Twitter Data
(Bloomberg) -- Facebook Inc., Twitter Inc., and Alphabet Inc.’s Google are among 15 companies and social platforms being asked by a House committee to turn over records of postings, videos and other material promoting the overturn of the 2020 election or events leading up to the deadly insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.
Letters sent out Friday by the select committee investigating the Jan. 6 violence also seek any and all internal reviews, data and communications about such posts or information appearing on their sites relating to the 2020 election, and efforts to overturn those results by domestic violent extremists or foreign actors.
The information also is being sought from Google video site YouTube, Zello, Tik-Tok, Reddit, Snap Inc., 4chan, theDonald.win, Gab, 8kun, Parler, Telegram and Amazon.com’s Twitch streaming platform.
The panel gave a two-week deadline to produce records.
Facebook spokesman Andy Stone said the company received the request and looks “forward to continuing to work with the committee.” A Google spokesman said in a statement that the company would work with Congress and that it’s committed to preventing abuses on its platforms. Twitter declined to comment on the request.
The requested material is part of a wide net for information being sought by the committee on how a rally organized to support former President Donald Trump’s false claims about the 2020 presidential election resulted in a mob storming the Capitol.
“The Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol is examining the facts, circumstances, and causes of the attack and relating to the peaceful transfer of power, in order to identify and evaluate lessons learned and to recommend corrective laws, policies, procedures, rules, or regulations,” committee Chairman Bennie Thompson wrote in the letters seeking the information.
The committee is also seeking information on policy changes social media companies adopted to address the spread of false information, violent extremism, and foreign malign influence, including decisions on banning material from platforms.
Records also are being sought of any interactions these social media companies had with federal law enforcement, military and intelligence agencies monitoring their sites prior to the attack, which occurred as Congress was certifying President Joe Biden’s victory in the Electoral College count.
The seven Democrats and two Republicans of the committee also are seeking to find out what the FBI, Department of Homeland Security and other agencies learned about the potential for violence by monitoring these sites -- and whether they adequately shared and acted on the information.
On Tuesday, the committee sent letters to eight executive branch agencies requesting records and other information, including communications with the White House and associates of former President Donald Trump.
Thompson said earlier this week the panel also will be seeking the preservation of information by telecommunications and other companies regarding emails and other communication from hundreds of people before and the day of the attack.
Thompson has said those people will include some members of Congress, who he would not identify. Those requests are expected to go out Friday.
The committee is scheduled to hold a private, virtual meeting Friday. It has held one public hearing, but no others are yet scheduled.
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