January 6 committee subpoenas social media after ‘inadequate’ responses

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Facebook, Twitter and Google take into account their role in spreading disinformation.

Brett Pearce/CNET

The House committee investigating the murder Riot of January 6 at the Capitol said on Thursday it had sued Reddit, Twitter and parent companies Facebook and Google after receiving “inadequate responses” from the tech giants.

In August, the select committee asked 15 platforms for records “related to spreading false information, efforts to cancel the 2020 elections or prevent certification of results, domestic violent extremism and foreign influence in the 2020 elections.” The committee also examines the measures taken by social networks to prevent their platforms from being “fertile breeding grounds” for radicalization.

“It is disappointing that after months of engagement, we still do not have the documents and information needed to answer these fundamental questions,” committee chairman Bennie Thompson, a Mississippi Democrat, said in a statement. communicated.

In one letter to Facebook’s parent company, MetaThompson cited news reports about how people used Meta platforms to spread misinformation, conspiracy theories, hate speech and violence before Jan. 6, as well as documents provided by the former leader Facebook product manager turned whistleblower Frances Haugen.

Facebook played down its role in the Jan. 6 attack, and CEO Mark Zuckerberg told U.S. lawmakers in March he believed “the responsibility here lies with the people who took the necessary steps to break the law and commit the insurrection”.

Last week a investigation by ProPublica and The Washington Post found evidence that Facebook played a “critical role in spreading lies that fomented the January 6 violence.” At least 650,000 posts in Facebook groups attacked the legitimacy of Joe Biden’s presidential victory over Donald Trump, with many calling for political violence, media reported. Trump has a rally scheduled for Saturday in Arizona.

A spokesperson for Reddit said the company “has received the subpoena and will continue to work with the committee on their demands.” A spokesperson for Meta said the social network has “produced material to the committee on a requested calendar committee staff” and “will continue to do so.” A spokesperson for Google’s parent company, Alphabet, said it “has been actively cooperating with the select committee since the beginning of its investigation, responding substantially to their requests for documents, and is committed to working with Congress.” throughout this process.” Twitter declined to comment.

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