Sunday, January 23, 2022

Congress subpoenas Meta, Alphabet, Twitter, and Reddit over January 6th Capitol attack

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Congress has despatched subpoenas demanding data from Meta (previously Facebook), Twitter, Reddit, and Alphabet regarding the January 6th, 2021 attack on the US Capitol. The House of Representatives Select Committee that’s investigating the attack needs every firm to reveal moderation coverage particulars and different data that would illuminate how contributors organized their efforts or unfold conspiracy theories concerning the 2020 presidential election.

The committee requested data from dozens of firms on a voluntary foundation final yr, however it says the response from the aforementioned 4 has been “inadequate” up to now. “Two key questions for the Select Committee are how the spread of misinformation and violent extremism contributed to the violent attack on our democracy, and what steps — if any — social media companies took to prevent their platforms from being breeding grounds for radicalizing people to violence. It’s disappointing that after months of engagement, we still do not have the documents and information necessary to answer those basic questions,” stated committee chairman Bennie Thompson (D-MS) in an announcement.

Alphabet’s subpoena letter asks for details about YouTube, which hosted livestreams of the attack but additionally suspended former President Donald Trump for inciting violence throughout it. It claims Alphabet has “significant undisclosed information” regarding the way it developed and reviewed its moderation and demonetization guidelines, in addition to particulars about the way it developed insurance policies round false election claims.

Twitter’s letter says the corporate hasn’t launched particulars of warnings it obtained about extremists organizing on its platform or “internal company analyses of misinformation, disinformation, and malinformation” regarding the election. It’s additionally purported to ship extra details about its determination to droop Trump’s account on January eighth. Twitter declined to touch upon the subpoena.

Meta is meant to produce paperwork about its determination to disband a workforce that handled election misinformation in addition to “critical internal and external analyses conducted by the company regarding misinformation, disinformation, and malinformation relating to the 2020 election, efforts to challenge or overturn the election, and the use of Meta by domestic violent extremists to affect the 2020 election.”

Reddit, which has by far the smallest of the platforms concerned, has been requested to decide to a “thorough review of its records” that would reveal particulars about whether or not it performed a job within the attack. “We received the subpoena and will continue to work with the committee on their requests,” Reddit stated in an announcement despatched to The Verge by Sandra Chu.

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