Peters presses TikTok on how company addresses conspiracy, extremist content

Peters presses TikTok on how company addresses conspiracy, extremist content
© Greg Nash

Senate Homeland Committee Chair Gary PetersGary PetersSinema fundraising in Europe as reconciliation talks 'ongoing': report Hillicon Valley — Presented by LookingGlass — Congress looks to strengthen government's aging cyber infrastructure Peters presses TikTok on how company addresses conspiracy, extremist content MORE (D-Mich.) sent a letter to social media app TikTok on Tuesday, pressing the company on the steps that its taking to remove extremist content from its platform in the wake of the Jan.6 Capitol attack. 

In the letter to Tik Tok CEO Shou Zi Chew, Peters asked for information on how the company monitors conspiracy content in addition to how it addresses increases in content that promotes domestic terrorism and extremism. 

“In the lead up to the January 6th attack on the U.S. Capitol, domestic extremists reportedly used TikTok to recruit, organize, and communicate,” Peters wrote, citing a Jan. 12 report from left-leaning Media Matters for America.

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“Since January 6th, domestic extremist groups have used TikTok to continue to spread their messages through content supporting white supremacists, extremists, and terrorist organizations,” he continued.

The Hill has reached out to TikTok for comment.

The committee has been investigating security failures that led up to Jan. 6.

In a report released in June, the panel found that multiple law enforcement agencies knew of social media posts calling for violence on Jan. 6, but did not fully convey the scope of those threats.

Politico reported last month that the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Intelligence and Analysis warned that domestic extremists used TikTok in the lead up to Jan. 6 for recruiting people and for “tactical guidance” on criminal activities.

In his letter, Peter asked for information on content that promoted the Jan. 6 riots and was removed prior to the attack. He also asked for information about how TikTok plans to cooperate with federal and local authorities to detect and prevent extremism going forward.

“I appreciated that TikTok has taken actions in response to the increased use of social media platforms to promote domestic extremist violence,” Peters wrote. 

“However, TikTok removed some extremist content only after continued reports from outside parties, and TikTok extremist content has been allowed to return and continue operating on its platform,” he continued.

The role of social media in the Jan. 6 attack has been a central focus in examining how the attack occurred.

In late August, the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol demanded records from TikTok and 14 other social media companies relating to misinformation and domestic extremism. The company had until Sept. 9 to comply.