The commission investigating the deadly Capitol riot has subpoenaed social media giants Twitter, Reddit and parent companies Facebook and Google.
The bipartisan committee had requested a trove of records last summer from these and other social companies, but said it had received “inadequate responses” from some of the biggest platforms.
The committee again demanded that the parent company of Google, Alphabet, Twitter, Reddit and Meta, formerly known as Facebook, turn over a slew of documents related to domestic terrorism, the spread of disinformation and efforts to influence or overturn the 2020 elections.
“Two key questions for the select committee are how the spread of disinformation and violent extremism has contributed to the violent assault on our democracy, and what steps – if any – social media companies have taken to prevent their platforms from being fertile ground for radicalizing people towards violence” , President Bennie Thompson said in a statement Thursday.
“It is disappointing that after months of engagement, we still do not have the documents and information needed to answer these basic questions. The select committee is working to get answers for the American people and help ensure nothing like January 6 happens again. We cannot allow our important work to be delayed any longer,” he added.
A spokesperson for Reddit confirmed that the company received the subpoena and said in a statement that it ” will continue to work with the committee on their requests”.
“We have been actively cooperating with the select committee since it began its investigation, substantially responding to its requests for documents, and we are committed to working with Congress throughout this process. We have strict policies prohibiting content that incites violence or undermines trust in elections on YouTube and Google products. We enforced these rules prior to January 6 and continue to do so today. We remain vigilant and are committed to protecting our platforms against abuse“said a Google spokesperson.
The committee is tasked with investigating the facts and causes surrounding the January 6 riot on Capitol Hill, when hundreds of supporters of former US President Donald Trump violently stormed the building and delayed the transfer of power to current President Joe Biden.
The committee believes the social media giants withheld information that is central to the House investigation, Thompson said in letters to each of the four companies.