The House committee on Thursday issued subpoenas targeting YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and Reddit, which increased the pressure after the platforms provided “inadequate responses to previous requests for information.”
The panel calls for documents and testimonies from social media companies as it examines “how the spread of misinformation and violent extremism contributed to the violent attack on our democracy” and what steps companies took “to prevent their platforms from becoming fertile ground for radicalization of people into violence. “
“It is disappointing that after months of commitment, we still do not have the necessary documents and information to answer these basic questions,” the rep said. Bennie G. Thompson, Mississippi Democrat and chairman of the committee.
The four companies were mentioned in the committee’s sweeping demands for documents in late August. The committee was aimed at technical platforms, including Snapchat, Telegram and Tik-Tok, as well as lesser-known groups such as 4chan and 8kun.
The rejection of social media companies is contributing to the growing setback as the committee tries to quarrel with key witnesses.
In a letter Thursday to YouTube’s parent company Alphabet, the panel said the video sharing app “was a platform for essential communication from its users relevant to the planning and execution” of the Capitol attack.
The committee cites Facebook as used to “share messages of hatred, violence and incitement” and to spread conspiracy theories surrounding the election.
“Public accounts about Facebook’s Civic Integrity Team indicate that Facebook has documents that are critical to the selection committee’s investigation,” said Mr. Thompson in his letter to Facebook’s parent company Meta.
The panel was also at home in a Reddit thread “r / The_Donnald”, which the panel said “hosted significant discussion and planning” related to the Capitol attack. The thread eventually migrated to TheDonald.win.
Lawmakers say Twitter users used the platform for “communication regarding the planning and execution of the attack on the United States Capitol” and to promote election fraud conspiracies, including those made by former President Donald Trump.
The panel also said Twitter had been “warned of potential violence planned on the site prior to January 6.”
The Democrat-led panel continues to face backlash from witnesses who say the committee has exceeded its limits.
Several people, both Trump insiders and people outside his circle, have sued the committee for its demands for phone records.
Three Republican lawmakers, including House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, have rejected the committee’s formal request to participate in the investigation.
Republicans claim the Democratic-led panel has armed the events of Jan. 6, saying the committee serves as a political tool to target conservatives.
Democrats insist the sole purpose of the investigation is to reveal the truth about what led to the Capitol riot to ensure a similar event never happens again.
“The select committee is working to get answers to the American people and help ensure that nothing like January 6 ever happens again,” Mr. Thompson. “We can not allow our important work to be further delayed.”
The committee has questioned close to 350 witnesses and issued close to 60 subpoenas.