Democratic senator requests tech company policies on extremist content

Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Gary Peters (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. 

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 Whitmer.”

“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.

Tags Gary Peters Gretchen Whitmer

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