Following the January 6 attack on the Capitol, a “special committee” was formed in the House of Representatives to investigate the circumstances that led to the crowd invading the country’s government headquarters. Part of this large-scale investigation is likely to include close attention to the world’s largest social media companies. Committee today announced that he requested the attack records from 15 companies, which were asked to respond within the next two weeks.
These are some of the biggest players on the internet, including Google, YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, Reddit, Snap, Twitch, Telegram, and TikTok. The list includes a number of small Trump-supporting sites that have sprung up in recent years, including Gab and Parler, as well as the famous cesspools 4chan and 8kun (formerly 8chan).
Specifically, the Ad Hoc Committee needs records regarding the spread of misinformation, attempts to refute the 2020 election results, efforts to prevent confirmation of election results, attempts to influence elections from abroad, and domestic violent extremism. In addition, the Committee also seeks submissions from these companies regarding any policy changes that have been considered or adopted to combat disinformation, violent extremism and foreign malevolent influence.
Notably, the committee wants to hear about both the policy changes that have been adopted and the things that the companies “did not accept”. One example of a change that occurred in response to the attack occurred recently on Facebook, where the company accepted a recommendation from its Supervisory Board. The company has abandoned its policy that allowed politicians to circumvent some of its rules under the guise of “information provisioning,” although politicians still enjoy special treatment for other rules, such as fact-checking.
Since the creation of the Ad Hoc Committee, it has become clear that it will take time to gather a wealth of information to properly investigate the events of January 6, and this extends to its inquiries to these companies. The ball is now on their courts.
All Engadget recommended products are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories contain affiliate links. If you buy something from one of these links, we may receive an affiliate commission.