1 of 5 | The January 6 House select committee on Thursday subpoenaed Alphabet, Meta, Reddit and Twitter, stating that the social media companies failed to comply with past requests for documents related to the riots. File Pool Photo by Chip Somodevilla/UPI | License Photo
Jan. 13 (UPI) -- The House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 riots at the U.S. Capitol on Thursday subpoenaed Alphabet, Meta, Reddit and Twitter for information from their social media platforms.
The committee is requesting that the four social media companies produce records related to the riots by Jan. 27, citing "inadequate responses" to prior requests for information regarding "the spread of misinformation, efforts to overturn the 2020 election, domestic violent extremism and foreign influence in the 2020 election."
"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," Chairman Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., said. "It's disappointing that after months of engagement, we still do not have the documents and information necessary to answer those basic questions."
The committee said that Alphabet's YouTube platform was used for "significant communications" relevant to the planning and execution of the Jan. 6 riots, including live streams of the attack as it took place.
In a letter to Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai, Thompson said the company failed to produce documents clarifying its conversations about content moderation and its efforts to remove posts by former President Donald Trump surrounding the riots and his eventual ban from the platform.
Meta's Facebook and Instagram platforms were also allegedly used to "share messages of hatred, violence and incitement" as well as to spread misinformation about the 2020 presidential election and to coordinate the "Stop the Steal" movement, they added.
Thompson said Meta had not provided documents about Facebook's decision to disband a Civic Integrity team focused on misinformation and other risks to the elecion prior to the Jan. 6 riots.
Reddit also hosted the "r/The_Donald" community which eventually migrated to the website "TheDonald.win" in 2020 and hosted "significant discussion and planning related" to the Jan. 6 riots, the committee said.
Reddit failed to conduct a "thorough review of its records" in response to the committee's requests, Thompson said.
The committee added that Twitter users communicated about planning and execution of the storming of the Capitol on the platform, as well as amplifying allegations of election fraud, including claims by Trump. It also noted that Twitter had allegedly been warned about potential violence being planned on the site ahead of the riots.
Thompson said Twitter had not provided a full explanation as to why it suspended Trump's account.
In the wake of the riots, Twitter permanently suspended Trump's account "due to the risk of further incitement of violence" after months of the social media network flagging Trump's content as misleading and a temporary suspension amid the riot.
Facebook in June said it would uphold its ban of Trump's Facebook and Instagram accounts until at least January 2023, at which point the ban will be re-evaluated.
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.,, speaks at a candlelight vigil
on the one-year anniversary of the Capitol riots in Washington, D.C., on Thursday. Photo by Ken Cedeno/UPI | License Photo