Jan. 6 investigators subpoena Twitter, YouTube, parent Facebook, and other tech giants
Companies have until January 27 to comply.
A Reddit spokesperson said the company has received the subpoena and will continue to work with the committee on its claims. A Twitter spokesperson declined to comment. Spokespersons for Facebook owner Meta and Alphabet did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
In August, the panel asked a slew of tech companies, including Twitter, Reddit, Facebook, Google and YouTube, about their handling of disinformation, their efforts to overturn the 2020 election, foreign influence and the domestic violent extremism. Investigators investigating the Capitol Riot also sought information on how the companies’ algorithms stimulated this type of content and what changes have been made since the attack.
Thursday’s subpoenas, however, indicate that the committee considers the current level of business cooperation to be insufficient.
Over the past year, lawmakers have focused on how social media algorithms amplify misinformation, particularly following documents and testimony from Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen.
Google, owner of YouTube, and Meta have both been criticized for not doing enough to remove dangerous and fake content. Internal company documents made public by Haugen show that the company had already begun dismantling its election guarantees before the Jan. 6 riot and was struggling to respond to election misinformation.
Fact-checking groups have also targeted YouTube for failing to crack down on election lies and other misinformation.
Reddit hosted a discussion group r/The_Donald, which the committee said hosted discussions about the election and Jan. 6. The company banned the chat group in June 2020 and its founders migrated the group to a separate website, TheDonald.win
Meta and YouTube both provided detailed information to the Department of Justice as part of its investigation into the Capitol Riot. An analysis by tech publication Recode found that prosecutors cited data from Facebook or Google, which makes the Android smartphone operating system and an eponymous, ubiquitous maps app, in 75% of the cases they have. filed so far.
And while Google, Facebook and Twitter all say they have taken significant steps to combat election misinformation, a POLITICO investigation a year after the insurgency found that conspiracies are still proliferating on social media sites and companies have had to difficult to control the problem.
Nicholas Wu contributed to this report.