WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The parliamentary committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the US Capitol on Friday asked major social media companies, including Alphabet’s Facebook, Twitter and Google, to deliver logs of messages about the attack carried out by Donald Trump supporters.
The House Select Committee asked for records relating to the violence and the days leading up to it, including the spread of disinformation and efforts to block certification of the election of President Joe Biden.
Demands were also made for 4chan and 8kun.
Twitter declined to comment. TikTok and Parler did not immediately respond to requests for comment. The other companies were not found for immediate comment.
Facebook, Snap, Google and Reddit confirmed they had received the order and said the companies would work with the committee.
Gab said in a statement that he had received a letter from the committee, adding that it had removed accounts “which sought to spread division and fear” prior to the inauguration.
The committee is seeking 2020 records, including, if any, policy changes that companies have made to slow down the online dissemination of false information.
Former Facebook security chief Alex Stamos said the committee’s subpoenas do not have the power to force companies to deliver private content, and that contacts with authorities can also be protected. On the other hand, he said internal analysis of what platforms could have done can shape the public’s understanding of what happened and why.
The committee’s extensive request for documents covering 15 companies indicates that this is the first step in understanding how social media platforms were used for organizing before January 6th and the following day, and will likely lead to several questions, said Graham Brookie, director of the Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Laboratory.
(Reporting by Patricia Zengerle and Scott Malone, Washington; Joseph Menn, San Francisco; and Sheila Dang, Dallas)
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