January 6 Committee subpoenas social media companies

House committee demands documents on 'misinformation,' 'domestic violent extremism'

The House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the Capitol has issued four subpoenas to social media companies, demanding documents "relating to 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," Rep. Bennie G. Thompson, D-Miss., chair of the committee, said in a statement on the subpoenas. 


"It’s disappointing that after months of engagement, we still do not have the documents and information necessary to answer those basic questions," Thompson added. "The Select Committee is working to get answers for the American people and help ensure nothing like January 6th ever happens again. We cannot allow our important work to be delayed any further."

Meta Facebook Mark Zuckerberg

Mark Zuckerberg, chief executive officer and founder of Facebook Inc., on Oct. 23, 2019.  ( Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images / Getty Images)

The committee sent subpoenas to Alphabet, Meta, Reddit, and Twitter. FOX Business has reached out to all four companies for comment and this story will be updated accordingly. Twitter declined to comment.

The committee claims that users used Alphabet's platform YouTube "for significant communications… that were relevant to the planning and execution of January 6th attack on the United States Capitol, including livestreams of the attack as it was taking place."

"We’ve been actively cooperating with the Select Committee since they started their investigation, responding substantively to their requests for documents, and are committed to working with Congress through this process," an Alphabet spokesperson told FOX Business. "We have strict policies prohibiting content that incites violence or undermines trust in elections across YouTube and Google's products, and we enforced these policies in the run-up to January 6 and continue to do so today. We remain vigilant and are committed to protecting our platforms from abuse."

It claims that Meta's platforms, such as Facebook and Instagram, "were reportedly used to share messages of hatred, violence, and incitement; to spread misinformation, disinformation, and conspiracy theories around the election; and to coordinate or attempt to coordinate the Stop the Steal movement. Public accounts about Facebook’s Civic Integrity Team indicate that Facebook has documents that are critical to the Select Committee’s investigation."

Meta spokesperson Andy Stone quoted Thompson, who has praised Facebook for working with the committee.

"As Chairman Thompson said recently, ‘Facebook is working with [the committee] to provide the necessary information we requested,’" Stone told FOX Business in a statement. "Since then, Meta has produced documents to the committee on a schedule committee staff requested - and we will continue to do so."


The committee also singled out the "r/TheDonald" subreddit community on Reddit, which "grew significantly on Reddit before migrating to the website TheDonald.win in 2020, which ultimately hosted significant discussion and planning related to the January 6th attack."

"We received the subpoena and will continue to work with the committee on their requests," a Reddit spokesperson told FOX Business.


The committee also claimed that Twitter users "used the platform for communications regarding the planning and execution of the assault on the United States Capitol, and Twitter was reportedly warned about potential violence being planned on the site in advance of January 6th. Twitter users also engaged in communications amplifying allegations of election fraud, including by the former President himself."


Alphabet Inc's Google (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File)

This is a developing story and will be updated.