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Twitter and Facebook have bent the rules to support Donald Trump, according to a Jan. 6 staff report.

Anna Edgerton, Mike Dorning Bloomberg

According to an unreleased staff report from a Jan. 6 committee of the House of Representatives, social media companies have slammed former President Donald Trump and his They bent their own rules to favor their supporters.

“Survey Summary” on page 122 states: Obtained and posted by The Washington Post, It analyzes testimony from employees and documents received from tech companies such as Twitter and Meta Platforms. It details how companies failed to adequately address the calls for violence and election-related conspiracy theories that spread online after the 2020 presidential election.

According to the report, “Both Facebook and Twitter have faced significant headwinds for taking aggressive action against problematic content by President Trump and his supporters.

The commission’s findings contradict complaints from conservative politicians that social media companies are biased against right-wing users. Republican leaders in the House’s new majority should use congressional hearings and use subpoenas if necessary to investigate content moderation decisions and to investigate allegations of ideological discrimination. promised

The document leak came as Facebook’s parent company Meta decided whether to allow the former president to return to the platform. Twitter reinstated Trump’s account in November after the company’s new owner and CEO, Elon Musk, polled followers on whether Trump should be reinstated. Trump has not tweeted since receiving his first suspension after his supporters attacked the Capitol two years ago.

The report covers the shortcomings of other platforms, including mainstream companies such as Google’s YouTube and Reddit Inc., as well as companies with smaller user bases such as Parler Inc. and Gab. Panel investigators interviewed tech industry executives, law enforcement and intelligence officials, Trump aides, and Republican campaign officials.

A spokeswoman for Rep. Benny Thompson, chairman of the Democratic committee, did not respond to a request for comment and did not confirm the document’s authenticity.

Trump’s Dec. 19 tweet reportedly encouraged his supporters to come to Washington on Jan. 6. — was a transformative moment across social media, turning the tone of the online conversation into a clear plan for the event. Plans for the violence were telegraphed on both far-right forums and mainstream platforms, making 6 January a pivotal day for the “Stop Theft” campaign, the report said.

This report provides examples of Twitter managers failing to respond to employee warnings about extreme rhetoric on the platform, including the phrase “locked and loaded.” Employees were told they could escalate questionable content to their superiors, but “experienced superiors were not on duty the morning of the presidential election certification,” the report said. .

The report said the company has found its own response to incitement to violence troubling, but has “substantial efforts to improve the situation in 2021,” including other high-profile elections such as in Brazil last year. No work was done.”

Supporters of former Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, who ransacked a government building on January 8 this year, have used a high-tech platform to cast doubt on his defeat in last year’s presidential election.

In the US, Facebook’s Samidh Chakrabarti, who was then head of product for US elections, proposed forming a working group to “study the election torrent that outlaws content on Facebook.” Guy Rosen, Facebook’s chief information security officer at the time, who was leading the company’s security and integrity efforts, told Chakrabarty that even as he studied the issue, there was “momentum and anticipation for action.” ,” he said, but he did not support it.

Meta spokesman Andy Stone declined to comment on the draft report, citing Trump’s previous public statements that promised consequences for future violations if Trump’s account was reinstated. Twitter, Parlor and Gab reached out for comment, but so far have not responded.

“We have established policies against hate speech, harmful conspiracies and sedition,” YouTube spokesperson Ivy Choi said in an email. “As a direct result of these policies, we suspended thousands of channels prior to January 6, some of which were linked to numbers related to attacks. was deleted, but most of it was before 100 plays.”

In a statement, Reddit said it found no evidence of systematic calls for violence on its platform in connection with January 6.

“Reddit’s site-wide policy prohibits content that promotes hatred or promotes, glorifies, incites or calls for violence against groups or individuals,” the company said in a statement. “We will continue to monitor and enforce our policies across our platform.”

The House committee that investigated the Jan. 6 Capitol riots focused on televised hearings and a final report on Trump’s role and his efforts to overturn the presidential election. . Its 814-page report, published in December, concluded that Trump was the “central cause” of the mob’s invasion of the Capitol in 2021.

The hearings and reports included testimony about the importance social media played in urging supporters to come to Washington and fueling further anger against former Vice President Mike Pence after a mob broke into the Capitol. was included. Although this included Trump’s explanation of the impact of his Dec. 19 tweet, the panel focused primarily on the actions of Trump and his associates.

– with the help of Sarah Fryer, Alex Barinka and Emily Birnbaum.

Other stories like this bloomberg.com

©2023 Bloomberg LP

https://www.siliconvalley.com/2023/01/18/social-media-firms-bent-rules-to-favor-trump-jan-6-staff-finds/ Twitter and Facebook have bent the rules to support Donald Trump, according to a Jan. 6 staff report.

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