According to the legislation that established the January 6th Committee, the members were mandated to examine “how technology, including online platforms” such as Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and Reddit and others “may have factored into the motivation, organization, and execution” of the insurrection.
When the Committee issued subpoenas to platforms a year ago, Chairman Bennie Thompson (D-MS) said, “Two key questions for the Select Committee are how the spread of misinformation and violent extremism contributed to the violent attack on our democracy, and what steps—if any—social media companies took to prevent their platforms from being breeding grounds for radicalizing people to violence.”
In order to learn what came of this particular aspect of the Committee’s sprawling, 18 month investigation, in this episode I’m joined by four individuals who helped conduct it, including staffing the depositions of social media executives, message board operators, far-right online influencers, militia members, extremists and others that gave testimony to the Committee:
- Meghan Conroy is the U.S. Research Fellow with the Digital Forensic Research Lab (DFRLab) and a co-founder of the Accelerationism Research Consortium (ARC), and was an Investigator with the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the U.S. Capitol.
- Dean Jackson is Project Manager of the Influence Operations Researchers’ Guild at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, and was formerly an Investigative Analyst with the Select Committee.
- Alex Newhouse is the Deputy Director at the Center on Terrorism, Extremism, and Counterterrorism and the Director of Technical Research at the Accelerationism Research Consortium (ARC), and served as an Investigative Analyst for the Select Committee.
- Jacob Glick is Policy Counsel at Georgetown’s Institute for Constitutional Advocacy and Protection, and served as an Investigative Counsel on the Select Committee.