The House Select Committee examining the January 6th attack on the U.S. Capitol is investigating the events that led up to the insurrection to make policy recommendations to prevent such an attack from ever occurring again. It’s critical lawmakers fully investigate the role social media companies played in amplifying the disinformation and conspiracy theories that helped spark the attack on our democracy, and hold those companies accountable for their actions.
Prior to the insurrection, leaders of Facebook, Twitter and YouTube failed to address the disinformation, conspiracy theories, and extremist content spreading on their platforms. Even since January 6th, major platforms have continued to allow election lies and extremist content to spread. Facebook, in particular, has also dodged accepting any responsibility — even declining to answer questions from its own oversight board about its role in the riot.
The attack on the peaceful transfer of power was based on lies spread on social media, planned and advertised across social media sites, and unchecked or simply allowed to continue by social media companies. The insurrection showed plainly that social media platforms are either unable or unwilling to protect our democracy.
Congress must do more than simply admonish companies like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube for their role in the attack. It’s more clear than ever that social media companies must be subject to consistent regulations proposed and passed by elected officials in Washington, D.C., not unelected CEOs in Silicon Valley.