The Democrat-led Jan. 6 committee hand-selected by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi sent draconian letters to more than a dozen social media companies demanding all data related to the day the U.S. Capitol Building was breached by protesters.
The letters, sent Thursday, were addressed to Google, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Reddit, TikTock, 4chan, Parler and others seeking documents and data as well as other information related to the riot dating all the way back to April 2020.
The committee is looking for documents regarding “misinformation, disinformation, and malinformation relating to the 2020 election,” efforts to overturn the election, “domestic violent extremists,” and any foreign influence.
In addition, the panel wants internal documents and communications to see if the algorithms used by the platforms in any way contributed to the riot at the Capitol.
“The Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol is examining the facts, circumstances, and causes of the attack and relating to the peaceful transfer of power, in order to identify and evaluate lessons learned and to recommend corrective laws, policies, procedures, rules, or regulations,” said Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., the committee’s chair, in a statement.
The Daily Caller adds:
The social media companies were also asked to provide insight into their content moderation policies, as well as a list of all content removed, labeled, or deprioritized related to the riots, according to the letters. The committee asked for records of communication with law enforcement officials, and made several other information requests.
Interestingly, a number of social media companies have indicated they are likely to cooperate with the probe rather than jealously guard users’ private information sans a court order.
“We have received the Select Committee’s letter and are committed to working with Congress on this,” a Google spokesperson told the Daily Caller News Foundation.
“The events of January 6 were unprecedented and tragic, and Google and YouTube strongly condemn them. We’re committed to protecting our platforms from abuse, including by rigorously enforcing our policies for content related to the events of January 6,” the spokesperson added.
“We have received the request and look forward to continuing to work with the committee,” a Facebook company spokesperson told the DCNF.
The letters gave the companies two weeks to respond; those that do not or may push back on the request are likely to face subpoenas.
The unorthodox demand for social media users’ data comes on the heels of similar requests for information sent to more than 100 officials including members of former President Donald Trump’s 2020 campaign from the National Archives.
“The records request explicitly named former President Donald Trump and several of his family members, as well as high-ranking Trump administration officials,” the Daily Caller reported.
For his part, the former president has said he will jealously defend against any probe by the committee, citing executive privilege.
“The Leftist select committee has further exposed itself as a partisan sham and waste of taxpayer dollars with a request that’s timed to distract Americans from historic and global catastrophes brought on by the failures of Joe Biden and the Democrats,” Trump said in a statement this week.
“Unfortunately, this partisan exercise is being performed at the expense of long-standing legal principles of privilege. Executive privilege will be defended, not just on behalf of my Administration and the Patriots who worked beside me but on behalf of the Office of the President of the United States and the future of our Nation,” he said.
“These Democrats only have one tired trick—political theater—and their latest request only reinforces that pathetic reality,” he added.
The letters seeking information from the platforms also come after the FBI announced in recent days its investigation found no widespread organized plot to storm the Capitol, though several Democrats have suggested that Republicans were in on one.