Twitter, Meta and YouTube among tech giants subpoenaed by panel, Marketing & Advertising News, ET BrandEquity

    Representative picture
Representative picture

After months of requesting documents from more than a dozen social platforms, the House committee investigating the Capitol rebellion issued subpoenas targeting Twitter, Meta, Reddit and YouTube after lawmakers said the companies’ initial responses were inadequate.

The panel chair, Representative Benny Thompson, on Thursday demanded records from companies relating to their role in spreading alleged misinformation about the 2020 election and promoting domestic violent extremism on their platforms in the run-up to the January 6, 2021 rebellion.

“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,” Thompson, De-Mies . , he said in the message.

Thompson added that it was “disappointing that, after months of involvement,” the four companies had not voluntarily provided the necessary information and documentation that would help lawmakers answer questions at the core of their investigation.

In his letter, Thompson outlined the way in which companies were implicated in the deadly uprising perpetrated by Donald Trump supporters and far-right groups.

YouTube, owned by Alphabet, was the platform on which a significant amount of communications “related to the planning and execution” of the siege on the Capitol, “including live broadcasts of the attack as it unfolded,” the letter said.

The commission reported how Meta, formerly known as Facebook, has been used to exchange hateful, violent and inflammatory messages between users as well as spread misinformation that the 2020 presidential election was rigged in an effort to coordinate the “Stop Theft” movement.

On Reddit, the r/The_Donald “subreddit” community grew significantly, the message said, before members moved to an official website where investigators believe discussions about planning the attack were hosted. A Reddit spokesperson said Thursday that the company has received a subpoena and will “continue to work with the committee on their requests.”

The message explained how Twitter had been warned of potential violence planned on its platform prior to the attack and how its users had engaged in “communication that amplifies allegations of election fraud, including by the former president himself”.

The speech highlighted one specific tweet from Trump on December 19, 2020: “Statistically impossible you would have lost the 2020 election” as he urged his followers to come to Washington for a “wild” protest on January 6, 2021.

A Twitter spokesperson declined to comment on the subpoenas. Meta and Alphabet representatives did not immediately respond to messages seeking comment.

The commission submitted its initial request for documentation from 15 social media companies in August, which also included TikTok, Parler, Telegram, 4chan and 8kun.

The subpoenas come as the nine-member panel continues its wide-ranging investigation of how a mob managed to infiltrate the Capitol and disrupt the ratification of Democrat Joe Biden’s presidential victory, in what was the most serious attack on Congress in two centuries.

The panel of seven Democrats and Republicans interviewed more than 340 people and issued dozens of subpoenas to those in Trump’s inner circle, including his former chief of staff, as well as requests to their House colleagues.

On Wednesday, the committee requested an interview with House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, Calif.

McCarthy, as well as Republican Representatives Jim Jordan of Ohio and Scott Perry of Pennsylvania, refused the committee’s request to sit down for interviews or turn over documents related to their January 6, 2021 conversations with Trump or those close to him in the hundreds. of his supporters beat up the police, stormed the building, and stopped certifying the 2020 elections.

The lawsuit, which will be heard by the London Competition Court, alleges that Facebook made billions of pounds by imposing unfair terms and conditions requiring consumers to hand over valuable personal data to gain access to the network.

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