House panel probing Capitol attack seeks records from Twitter, Facebook, 4chan and others

Letters ask how companies addressed extremism, misinformation

Chairman Bennie Thompson addresses the media after the House Jan. 6 select committee hearing on July 27. From left are, Reps. Adam Schiff, Liz Cheney, Jamie Raskin, Zoe Lofgren, Pete Aguilar and Adam Kinzinger.  (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)
Chairman Bennie Thompson addresses the media after the House Jan. 6 select committee hearing on July 27. From left are, Reps. Adam Schiff, Liz Cheney, Jamie Raskin, Zoe Lofgren, Pete Aguilar and Adam Kinzinger. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)
Posted August 27, 2021 at 3:25pm

Chairman Bennie Thompson on Friday announced that the Jan. 6 select committee is seeking records from 15 social media companies — including 4chan, Twitter, Facebook, Google, Parler, Reddit, TikTok and Snapchat — to examine how they addressed violent extremism and misinformation leading up to the Capitol attack.

The robust records requests focus on the spread of misinformation, domestic violent extremism, foreign influence and attempts to overturn the 2020 presidential election victory of Joe Biden. The letters sent to the social media companies ask for communications, data, reports and analyses dating back to the spring of 2020.

Lawmakers want information on what policy changes the companies made — or didn't make — to combat misinformation, violent extremism and malign foreign influence. This includes what policies those companies had prior to Jan. 6 to sanction or ban accounts associated with violent extremists or other accounts that attempted to interfere with the election.

The panel wants all information on accounts, groups and other entities using the companies' tools or products that were banned or in some way disciplined for association with extremism tied to overturning the election and causing civil unrest. Also requested are accounts that were shared with or requested by law enforcement.

Also targeted were Zello, YouTube, Twitch, theDonald.win, Telegram, Gab and 8kun.

This is the second large-scale document request announced by the committee this week. On Wednesday, the panel revealed it is seeking information from federal agencies and the National Archives on former President Donald Trump's actions during the insurrection, including White House call logs and visitor records.

Thompson, a Mississippi Democrat, issued a deadline of Sept. 9 for the social media companies and the agencies to respond to the requests.