The House select committee subpoenaed some of the largest tech companies in the U.S. on Thursday, demanding they answer for their role in the insurrectionist attack on the United States Capitol.
The companies subpoenaed by the United States House Select Committee on the January 6 Attack include Reddit, Meta, and Facebook, the parent companies of both Google and YouTube. The committee wants to ask the companies about the spread of misinformation, efforts to overturn the 2020 election, and foreign influence in the election.
Neither Meta nor Alphabet has responded to the request for comment. The company has received a subpoena and will continue to work with the committee on their requests, according to a spokesman for the company. It was not possible to comment on the matter.
The attack on the U.S. Capitol by hundreds of supporters of former President Donald Trump is being investigated by a subcommittee. The attack was carried out as Congress certified Biden's election win, and social media has come under fire for its role.
The companies were asked to answer questions in late August. Their answers were incomplete and inadequate according to the chairman of the select committee.
Thompson said that the Select Committee wanted to know how the spread of misinformation and violent extremism contributed to the violent attack on our democracy, and what steps social media companies took to prevent their platforms from being breeding grounds for radicalizing people to violence. We don't have the documents and information to answer the basic questions after months of engagement. The Select Committee is trying to get answers for the American people and make sure nothing like January 6th ever happens again. We can't allow our work to be delayed anymore.
These companies have tried to paint themselves as responsible corporate citizens, doing everything they can to limit the appearance that their platforms were used to stoke an insurrection. The specific ways in which the tech companies played a role in the attack on the U.S. Capitol are detailed in the letters the committee sent to the companies.
The committee said that YouTube enabled significant communication of information pertaining to the "planning and execution" of the attack, while also allowing users to livestream the riot.
The committee said that Facebook served as a platform for spreading misinformation around the election. It highlighted the groups that were created on Facebook after the election. Despite warnings, users were allowed to post about the assault on the United States Capitol.
The January 6 committee implicated the pro-Trump r/The_Donald community, which the company banned in June 2020. The committee points out that The Donald moved to its own website, which hosted significant discussion and planning related to the January 6th attack.