January 6 panel targets social media companies with subpoenas after ‘inadequate

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The subpoenas were sent to Meta, the parent company of Facebook, Alphabet, the parent company to Google and Youtube, Twitter and Reddit.

“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,” Democratic Rep. Bennie Thompson, who chairs the committee, said in a statement.

“It’s disappointing that after months of engagement, we still do not have the documents and information necessary to answer those basic questions,” he continued.

The committee writes to Alphabet that it believes the company has “significant undisclosed information that is critical to its investigation” about how it moderated its content and how those policies impacted what was on the platform on January 6.

Although Thompson in his letter acknowledges that the committee and Alphabet have had “subsequent engagements” since the panel’s initial reach out in August, he writes that Alphabet “has not demonstrated a commitment to voluntarily and expeditiously” produce the documents being requested.

Thompson states that Alphabet has yet to explain the decision-making process to take down former President Donald Trump’s YouTube account and whether the platform did anything with Trump’s account prior to January 6.

“Additionally, Alphabet has not produced documents relating to YouTube’s policy decisions that may have had an impact on the planning, coordinating and execution” of the January 6 attack, the letter from the committee reads. The panel specifically raises questions about how YouTube’s election misinformation content moderation policy worked.

To Meta, the committee states that the parent company of Facebook has still not turned over key documents or responded to specific requests for information.

Thompson highlights in the letter that Meta has still not explained to the committee why Facebook disbanded its Civic Integrity team following the November 2020 election.

“Despite repeated and specific requests for documents related to these matters, the Select Committee still has not received these materials,” Thompson said in his letter to Meta.

The committee also highlights that Meta has “failed to provide 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.”

“Despite repeated and specific follow-up requests on September 28, 2021, and October 29, 2021, Meta has declined to commit to a deadline for producing or even identifying these materials,” the committee adds.

In a statement to CNN on Thursday, Meta spokesperson Andy Stone said, “Meta has produced documents to the committee on a schedule committee staff requested –…



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