Democrats ask Twitter, TikTok and Meta about threats after Trump’s raid on Mar-a-Lago
The J. Edgar Hoover FBI building sign can be seen through fences and barbed wire surrounding the construction on the side of the building in Washington, DC, U.S., August 17, 2022.
Leah Millis | Reuters
Heads of the House Oversight Committee urged eight social media companies on Friday to crack down on online threats to law enforcement believed to be on the rise following the FBI’s raid on former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home.
Lawmakers sent letters requesting information and documents to Twitter, TikTok, the parent company of Facebook Meta and Telegram, as well as the Trump-backed Truth Social app. Three other platforms with largely conservative followers, Rumble, Gettr and Gab, were also contacted.
The letters seek threat data posted online since the Aug. 8 raid of the former president’s residence in Palm Beach, Florida, as well as information about the company’s reporting and removal policies. threats.
Statements by Trump and his Republican allies about the raid may have ‘triggered a flood of violent social media threats that have already resulted in at least one death,’ said Oversight Chair Carolyn Maloney, DN. .Y., and Chair of the National Security Subcommittee. Rep. Stephen Lynch, D-Mass., wrote in the letters.
They cited a FBI warning and the Department of Homeland Security that threats against officers have increased online since officers executed the Mar-a-Lago search warrant, according to NBC News.
Democrats were also referring to a man who fired a nail gun at an FBI office in Cincinnati, Ohio, then fled before being killed in a shootout with police. This man, identified by the police as Ricky Shiffer, had apparently posted many threatening messages on Truth Social after the Mar-a-Lago raid.
“We urge you to take immediate action to address any threats of law enforcement violence that appear on your company’s platforms,” Maloney and Lynch wrote in the letters.
Reps. Carolyn Maloney, DN.Y., and Stephen Lynch, D-Mass., are seen during a House Oversight and Reform Committee markup at the Rayburn Building on a resolution on whether to hold the prosecutor General William Barr and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross in contempt of Congress on Wednesday, June 12, 2019.
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“The Committee strongly supports the First Amendment rights of all Americans to speak out about their government’s actions and law enforcement matters, including on social media platforms. However, threats and incitements to deadly violence are unacceptable and against the law,” they wrote. .
Committee leaders said they are also considering “whether legislative reform is needed to protect law enforcement personnel and increase coordination with federal authorities.”
Trump himself revealed the raid in a furious statement on the evening of August 8, saying his vacation home was “besieged” by FBI agents.
Many Republican officials were quick to issue statements criticizing the raid and backing Trump, the de facto GOP leader who is eyeing a 2024 presidential election. Some, like House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-California, have suggested that the Justice Department under President Joe Biden’s administration had been weaponized against its political opponents.
Even former Vice President Mike Pence, whom Trump has considered an enemy since Pence refused to reject key electoral votes confirming Biden’s victory in the 2020 election, said he was “deeply concerned” by the move. “unprecedented”.
Letters sent Friday morning cite numerous threatening messages from Truth Social that “coincide” with rhetoric from GOP leaders.
“The Second Amendment is not about shooting deer! Lock and load!” a post read. “Arm yourself! We are about to enter the civil war! another user wrote.
Maloney and Lynch are asking companies to send in the requested information by September 2.