US House panel subpoenas social media giants in Jan 6 probe

The House of Representatives panel investigating the deadly January 6, 2021 riot at the United States Capitol subpoenaed the parent companies of Facebook, Google, Twitter and Reddit for information about how their platforms were used to spread misinformation in a failed bid to overturn the 2020 election results.

The subpoenas are the latest issued in the congressional probe, which seeks to create a clearer picture of the circumstances surrounding the storming of the seat of the US legislature and the role played by former President Donald Trump in encouraging the attack.

The companies have until January 27 to comply with the order.

Meta, the parent company of Facebook, said it turned over documents on “a schedule committee staff requested – and we will continue to do so”.

Google, meanwhile, said it has cooperated with the committee by “responding substantively to their requests for documents”.

“We have strict policies prohibiting content that incites violence or undermines trust in elections across YouTube and Google’s products, and we enforced these policies in the run-up to January 6 and continue to do so today,” Google said.

Reddit said it would continue to work with the committee on their requests. Twitter declined to comment.

The committee made its initial request for documents from 15 social media companies in August. That list also included TikTok, Parler, Telegram, 4chan and 8kun.

The investigation comes amid a wider debate over social media companies’ responsibility when it comes to policing misinformation on their sites, with critics saying initiatives, notably those undertaken by Facebook and Twitter, to label or remove false or incendiary content on their platforms have fallen woefully short.


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