The congressional committee investigating the January 6 attack on the US Capitol has issued subpoenas to Alphabet, Reddit, Twitter and Facebook Meta, requesting records related to the 2020 US presidential election.
The subpoenas announced Thursday indicated a significant escalation in the work of the Jan. 6 committee, which is led by Democrats and has only two Republicans in its ranks.
In recent months, the committee has requested testimony from dozens of Trump administration officials and allies in its quest for information regarding the siege of the former president’s supporters on the Capitol, which halted the ratification of Joe Biden’s election and left five people dead.
“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, have social media companies taken to prevent their platforms from being a breeding ground for people’s radicalization to violence,” said Penny Thompson, a Democratic Representative who He chairs the committee.
Mr. Thompson said it was “disappointing” that despite “months of involvement” lawmakers “still do not have the documentation and information needed to answer these basic questions”.
Google and YouTube’s Alphabet said it has been “actively cooperating” with the select committee since the investigation began, that it has responded “objectively” to document requests and is committed to working with Congress.
She added, “We have strict policies that prohibit content that incites violence or undermines trust in elections across YouTube and Google products, and we implemented these policies in the lead up to January 6th and continue to do so today. We remain vigilant and committed to protecting our platforms from abuse. the use “.
“As Chairman Thompson said recently,” Meta said, “Facebook is working with /[the committee/] To provide the necessary information that we have requested. Since then, Meta has submitted documents to the Commission according to the schedule requested by Commission staff, and we will continue to do so.”
Reddit said it had “received the subpoena and will continue to work with the committee on their requests.” Twitter declined to comment.
The January 6 commission indicated that it also intends to step up its efforts by targeting existing lawmakers.
On Wednesday, the committee said it had requested information from Kevin McCarthy, the top Republican in the House of Representatives. McCarthy indicated that he would not voluntarily cooperate with the investigation, paving the way for another possible summons in the coming weeks.
The subpoenas for the big tech companies came hours after the Justice Department revealed that Stuart Rhodes, founder and leader of the far-right group Oath Keepers, was charged with seditious conspiracy over his role Jan. 6.
The Department of Justice, which is conducting an investigation separate from that of Congress, described the department’s guards as “a large but loosely organized group of individuals, some associated with militias.”
The disclosure of the indictment marks a significant development in the Justice Department’s investigation into the attack just one week after the first anniversary of the riots. Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2022