Despite communication for several months, the commission says the platforms have not provided enough information.
The House committee investigating the deadly January 6, 2021 riots in the United States Capitol summoned the parent companies of Facebook, Google, Twitter and Reddit for information about how their software was used to spread disinformation in a failed attempt to cancel the 2020 election results.
The subpoenas are the latest in a congressional investigation that seeks a clearer picture of the circumstances surrounding the storming of the US House of Representatives and the role former President Donald Trump played in encouraging the attack.
In a statement Thursday, House Select Committee Chairman Benny Thompson said that despite “months of engagement” with the tech giants, the companies had not provided enough information.
“Two key questions for the Select Committee are how the spread of disinformation and violent extremism has contributed to the violent attack on our democracy, and what steps – if any – have social media companies taken to prevent their platforms from being a breeding ground for people’s radicalization to violence,” Thompson said.
“We cannot allow our important work to be delayed any longer.”
Companies have until January 27 to comply with the request.
Meta, Facebook’s parent company, said it handed over the documents at “the request of the Timeline Committee Task Force – and we will continue to do so.”
Meanwhile, Google said it cooperated with the commission by “responding objectively to their requests for documentation.”
“We have strict policies in place that prohibit content that incites violence or undermines confidence in elections across YouTube and Google products, and we implemented these policies in the lead up to January 6 and continue to do so today,” Google said.
Reddit said it will continue to work with the committee on their requests. Twitter declined to comment.
The commission submitted its initial request for documents from 15 companies on social media in August. That list also included TikTok, Parler, Telegram, 4chan, and 8kun.
The investigation comes amid a broader debate about the responsibility of social media companies when it comes to policing misinformation on their sites, with critics saying that initiatives, particularly those taken by Facebook and Twitter, to name or remove false or inciting content on their platforms have fallen unfortunately. short.
All major social media sites banned Trump in the wake of the January 6 riots for his role in encouraging supporters to stop certifying President Joe Biden’s election victory.
So far, the House committee has interviewed more than 340 people and issued dozens of subpoenas to those in Trump’s inner circle, including his former chief of staff, as well as requests from their House colleagues.
On Wednesday, the committee requested an interview with House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy.
However, McCarthy and Republican lawmakers Jim Jordan and Scott Perry quickly joined a long list of Trump allies who refused to sit down for panel interviews or hand over documents related to their conversations.