Tuesday, January 18, 2022

January 6th Committee subpoenas Facebook, Google, Reddit, Twitter.

The House Select Committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the US Capitol subpoenaed four major tech companies on Thursday to obtain disinformation records and other reports regarding their platforms.

Committee seeks reports from Alphabet, the parent company of Google and YouTube; Meta, which owns Facebook and Instagram; reddit; and Twitter all provided “inadequate responses to previous requests for information,” the committee said in a statement.

“The 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 ensure their platforms do not become a breeding ground for radicalization and violence. “, Committee Chairman Rep. Benny Thompson (D-Ms.) said Thursday. “It’s disappointing that after months of engagement, we still don’t have the documents and information we need to answer these basic questions.”

YouTube, according to the committee, served as “a platform for important user communications related to the planning and execution” of the January 6 attack.

Facebook and other Meta platforms, the committee continued, “have reportedly been used to communicate hate, violence and incitement; spread misinformation, misinformation and conspiracy theories around elections; and coordinate or attempt to coordinate the Stop the Steal movement.”

The committee stated that the now-defunct “r/The_Donald” Reddit subreddit board fueled the community, which eventually moved to its own website, TheDonald.win, where users discussed and planned the attack.

A Reddit spokesperson told HuffPost: “We have received the subpoena and will continue to work with the committee on their requests.”

Twitter users interacted on the platform to plan and strategize the attack, the committee said. The platform also allowed users, including former President Donald Trump, to write public messages “reinforcing allegations of electoral fraud.” The committee’s Twitter letter also cited comments from Prince Harry, who said he had warned company founder and later CEO Jack Dorsey that Twitter was fueling something dangerous.

“Jack and I emailed until January 6th, where I alerted him that his platform allows for a coup,” Harry told the RE:WIRED tech forum in November. “This email was sent the day before and then [the attack] happened, and I haven’t heard from him since.”

Neither Alphabet nor Meta immediately responded to HuffPost’s request for comment on the subpoena. A Twitter spokesperson declined to comment.

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