Democratic senator requests tech company policies on extremist content

Democratic senator requests tech company policies on extremist content
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Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Gary PetersGary PetersHillicon Valley — Presented by Xerox — The Facebook Oversight Board is not pleased New Senate bill would take steps to protect AI-collected data Sinema fundraising in Europe as reconciliation talks 'ongoing': report MORE (D-Mich.) is demanding that Facebook, Twitter and YouTube provide information regarding their policies surrounding mitigating extremist content on their platforms. 

Peters in a release on Monday said he wrote letters to each platform's CEO in an effort to combat domestic terrorism and investigate the events of Jan. 6, when rioters attacked the U.S. Capitol. 

"Online platforms continue to be used to fundraise, recruit, organize, train, and plan for acts of domestic terrorism," Peters said in the letters before citing individual examples of this for each platform. 

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For example, the senator wrote that people used Twitter "to spread the false idea of a rigged 2020 election" while Facebook was used "to communicate and share footage of paramilitary exercises in a plot to kidnap Michigan Governor Gretchen WhitmerGretchen WhitmerMichigan orders 'all-hands-on-deck' response to water crisis Equilibrium/Sustainability — Presented by Altria — Michigan leaves majority-Black city with lead-contaminated taps for three years Whitmer vetoes bill on bird feeding over deer fears MORE."

"As part of my investigation, I am seeking information from social media companies about their efforts to address the spread of violent extremist content, including how their own tools to encourage user engagement, target ads and generate revenue may contribute to the amplification of dangerous and radicalizing content," he added.

Peters acknowledged that the social media companies had already "taken steps to address" the issue of domestic terrorism but questioned "the effectiveness of these policies" in the context of recent events, the letters said.

Following June's bipartisan review of the Capitol's security vulnerabilities, Peter's request is the first significant public document request from committee investigating the events of Jan. 6, according to CNN.