January 6 select committee demands records from social media companies

The House select committee investigating the January 6 attack on the Capitol on Friday demanded records from 15 social media companies, including Facebook and Twitter.

The requests are part of an effort to understand the role that misinformation and planning on the platforms played in the leadup to the assault on the Capitol. 

The committee asked specifically for data and analysis on domestic violent extremists connected with efforts to overturn the 2020 election, as well as information about  how the companies tried to curb misinformation related to the election.

The panel’s chair, Congressman Bennie Thompson, set a two-week deadline for the companies to respond to the requests.  

“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,” Thompson wrote in letters seeking the information.

Earlier this week, the panel asked for records from eight executive branch agencies. It is also expected to ask telecommunications companies for phone records, including from members of Congress. Coupled with the letters to social media companies, the committee’s requests outline a broad investigation stretching from former President Trump’s White House to Congress and to dark corners of social media platforms.

Several of the rioters on January 6 livestreamed their actions at the Capitol, sparking outrage from several Democratic members of Congress. Facebook was under fire again last week when a man who made a bomb threat outside the Capitol livestreamed himself for hours before the company took his video down.