Jan. 6 Committee Subpoenas Private Online Data As Probe Continues

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In addition to playing out in front of countless news cameras facing the Capitol Building, the Jan. 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. government first played out and was planned on social media websites. As a result, the committee investigating the attack have subpoenaed records from companies like Facebook, Twitter, Google, and Reddit.

The committee intends to find out how much the Trump administration was involved in using social media to rally supporters to the Capitol. The twice-impeached ex-president who lost the popular vote twice took to Twitter ahead of the attack to invite supporters to Washington, D.C. on that day, telling them the event would be “wild.” How much he and his administration’s officials knew and what they intended to do when rallying supporters will be a focus of the investigation.

According to The Guardian:

‘The House select committee investigating the Capitol attack subpoenaed Twitter, Meta, Alphabet and Reddit on Thursday for records related to the 6 January insurrection, as it seeks to review data that could potentially incriminate the Trump White House. Facebook is part of Meta and Google is part of Alphabet.’

Like members of the Trump administration, social media companies had refused requests by the committee for digital records recently. Like many others in the Trump circle, like Steve Bannon and Kash Patel, the committee issued subpoenas to place legal pressure on the companies and witnesses to turn over their information and testimonies.

‘The subpoenas to the four social media companies were the last straw for the select committee after repeated engagements with the platforms went unheeded, Thompson said in letters that amounted to stinging rebukes over the platforms’ lack of cooperation.’

In particular, the social media platform Reddit was used as a space for planning and coordinating among organizers of the event that led to the attack. As such, the committee is pressing hardest against sites where Trump supporters flocked to plan the attack.

‘The chairman said the select committee was interested in records from Reddit, since the “r/The_Donald” subreddit that eventually migrated to a website of the same name hosted significant discussion and planning related to the Capitol attack…The select committee gave the social media companies a 27 January deadline to comply with the subpoenas, but it was not clear whether the organizations would comply. A spokesperson for Twitter and Meta did not immediately respond to requests for comment.’