Committee investigating Jan. 6 Capitol Hill riot seeks records from social networks

House lawmakers want answers from Facebook, Google, Twitter and other tech companies.

Queenie Wong
Queenie Wong Former Senior Writer
Queenie Wong was a senior writer for CNET News, focusing on social media companies including Facebook's parent company Meta, Twitter and TikTok. Before joining CNET, she worked for The Mercury News in San Jose and the Statesman Journal in Salem, Oregon. A native of Southern California, she took her first journalism class in middle school.
Expertise I've been writing about social media since 2015 but have previously covered politics, crime and education. I also have a degree in studio art. Credentials 2022 Eddie award for consumer analysis
2 min read

Technology companies are in the political hot seat yet again. 

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A congressional committee investigating the deadly Capitol Hill riot that took place Jan. 6 is seeking records from a number of  tech companies, including Facebook , Twitter and Google

The House select committee is asking the companies for records "related to the spread of misinformation, efforts to overturn the 2020 election or prevent the certification of the results, domestic violent extremism, and foreign influence in the 2020 election," according to a Friday press release from the group. The committee is also asking the companies for information about any policy changes made to address misinformation, posts condoning violent extremism, and other offensive content. 

The request for more information underscores the ongoing tensions between the world's largest tech companies and politicians who are looking more closely at the role social media plays in fueling violence offline. 

TikTok, Telegram, Twitch, YouTube, Reddit, Gab, 4chan, 8kun, Parler, Snapchat, theDonald.win and Zello are also being asked to turn over these records. The companies have two weeks to hand over the information to the committee. 

In the wake of the Capitol Hill riot, social networks including Facebook, Twitter and Google-owned YouTube took the unprecedented step of booting from their platforms Donald Trump, who was US president at the time. Facebook said it would reevaluate Trump's indefinite suspension in 2023. The companies expressed concerns at the time that Trump's unfounded claims about election fraud could result in more violence. 

Twitter declined to comment. Reddit, which has said it found no coordinated calls for violence on its platform related to the Jan. 6 attack, said it was cooperating with the committee. Facebook, Google and Snapchat confirmed they received the request and are working with the committee. Gab said in a blog post that it looked forward to getting in touch with the committee and noted that it has "a zero-tolerance policy towards threats of violence and unlawful speech." Other companies listed by the committee didn't immediately respond to requests for comment. 

On Wednesday, the committee sent records to eight federal agencies, including the National Archives and Records Administration, the Department of Defense and the FBI, asking for more information about the Jan. 6 attack.