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US riot probe subpoenas social media firms

The US House Select Committee investigating the January 6 2021 attack on the Capitol has subpoenaed Meta, Alphabet, Twitter and Reddit, seeking information about how their social media sites were used to help fuel misinformation in a failed bid to overturn 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 radicalising people to violence,” panel chairman Representative Bennie Thompson said in a statement on Thursday.

“It’s disappointing that after months of engagement, we still do not have the documents and information necessary to answer those basic questions.”

The subpoenas to the tech companies are the latest development in the House Select Committee’s investigation into the causes of the attack on the US Capitol by former president Donald Trump’s supporters, and the role played by Trump, who has pushed the lie that he lost a rigged election to Joe Biden.

The committee has issued more than 50 subpoenas and heard from more than 300 witnesses. It is expected to release an interim report in the summer and a final report in the autumn.

Spokespeople for the four social media companies could not be immediately reached for comment.

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