In charge of internal security in the Senate, Gary Peters watches the networks like milk on fire. A month ago, as part of an investigation by the Senate Committee on the Insurgency, Mr. Peters sent letters demanding an explanation to Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. This time it is the Chinese TikTok who is questioned about the management of extremist content.
Homeland Security Senate Speaker Gary Peters (D-Mich.) On Tuesday asked video-sharing app TikTok for information on its efforts to curb violent extremist content before and after the January 6 riot. on Capitol Hill, expanding the panel’s investigation into how social media may have contributed to violence.
According to the Washington Post, Peters expressed concern over reports that domestic extremists used the platform to “recruit, organize and communicate” in the days leading up to the riot, and that they “continue to disseminate their messages through content supporting white supremacists, extremists and terrorist organizations ”.
He asked TikTok to provide the panel, by October 27, with information on how it applied policies against extremist and violent content before and after January 6, if the company has cooperated with federal authorities. in these efforts and whether its algorithms have amplified some of this content.
In a letter to TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew, Peters accused the company of only taking action against certain extremist content “after receiving continuous reports from outside parties” and said ” TikTok’s extremist content has been allowed to return and continue to function on its platform ”.
TikTok spokespersons did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Facebook, Twitter and YouTube were arrested last month by the senator for information on their policies and enforcement against extremist content related to January 6. The new challenge marks an expansion of those efforts and increases scrutiny of TikTok’s alleged role in the events, which has drawn less attention than those of its peers.
The commission confirmed to the Washington Post last week that it also plans to meet with Frances Haugen, a Facebook whistleblower, who accused the company of contributing to the events of January 6.
The House of Representatives special committee to investigate the January 6 riot also asked Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and TikTok for information on their role in monitoring riot-related content.
On Tuesday, Mr. Peters also sent letters to the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI, asking them to disclose more details of their efforts to investigate and disrupt domestic terrorism and extremism on social media platforms.
In a letter to DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, Peters wrote that “concerns remain about DHS actions to combat the proliferation of national extremism on social media, and how the department has prioritized its resources to counter this threat ”.
DHS and the FBI did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
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