August 30, 2021
Capitol riot committee demands records from Google, Facebook, Reddit and Twitter related to Jan. 6 attack
Facebook, Google and Twitter and other technology companies are being asked to hand over records on efforts to overturn the 2020 election and the deadly Capitol attack.
Letters sent out Friday by the congressional committee investigating the Jan. 6 violence seek internal reviews, data and communications about social media posts.
The House Select Committee is seeking records on policy changes social media companies made, or failed to make, to address the spread of misinformation, violent extremism and foreign influence, including decisions to ban content.
Google said it was "committed to working with Congress on this."
"The events of January 6 were unprecedented and tragic, and Google and YouTube strongly condemn them," the company said in a statement to U.S. TODAY. "We're committed to protecting our platforms from abuse, including by rigorously enforcing our policies for content related to the events of January 6."
Facebook said it looked forward "to continuing to work with the committee." Twitter declined to comment.
The request for materials dating back to the spring of 2020 highlights the central role social media platforms played on Jan. 6 when a rally over former President Donald Trump's baseless claims of election fraud led to the storming of the Capitol.
Hundreds of people were arrested, many of whom were identified by photos, videos and posts on social media.
"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, D-Miss., wrote.
The other social media companies the panel is targeting are 4chan, 8kun, Gab, Parler, Reddit, Snapchat, Telegram, theDonald.win, TikTok, Twitch and Zello.
"As we are a free to use online publishing platform, it is inevitable that criminal actors will seek to abuse our services, as indeed they abuse all online services," Gab CEO Andrew Torba said in an email to users. "We work hard to ensure that our services are denied to these bad actors."
"We look forward to getting in touch with the Committee in the coming weeks," he added.
Seven Democrats and two Republicans sit on the committee which was formed by House Democrats after a Jan. 6 independent commission was blocked in the Senate by Republicans.
Shortly before its first hearing, Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., denied two Republican nominations to the committee, Rep. Jim Banks, R-Ind., and Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, over their votes to contest the 2020 election.
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