The US parliamentary commission responsible for shedding light on the assault on Capitol Hill announced Thursday, January 13, to assign four social networks to testify in their investigation. Alphabet (parent company of YouTube), Meta (that of Facebook), Reddit and Twitter are targeted by these court orders.
The commission, whose role is to establish the responsibility of former President Donald Trump and his entourage in the assault on Congress by his supporters, said the requests were launched after « Insufficient responses » of the four groups to previous requests for collaboration.
Two questions are of particular interest to investigators: how the spread of false information contributed to this attack and what measures – if any – social networks took to prevent their platforms from becoming breeding grounds for radicalization.
« It is disappointing that after months of work, we still do not have the documents and information necessary to answer these fundamental questions », lamented the chairman of the commission, Democrat Bennie Thompson.
YouTube, Reddit and Meta have denied not collaborating with the commission, and said they are working with them to provide the required information.
« We have a strict policy of banning content that incites violence or undermines confidence in elections, on YouTube or through other Google products., said Alphabet, parent company of Google, in a response to Agence France-Presse (AFP). We implemented this policy before January 6 and continue to do so today. «
Twitter declined to respond to AFP’s requests. Former President Trump’s Former Favorite Social Network Of Interest To Commission Due To Subscriber Communications « Concerning the planning and execution of the assault on the Capitol » that would have taken place on the platform. The social network, say the investigators, would have been warned of the risk of violence before January 6.
YouTube is targeted because of the videos that the demonstrators would have broadcast live on the platform during the assault.
« We cannot allow our important work to be further delayed », insisted the elected Bennie Thompson, inviting social networks to cooperate. It is urgent: the committee wishes at all costs to publish its conclusions before the midterm elections, in November 2022. If the Democrats lose control of the House during the ballot, it risks being dissolved by the Republicans.