House Oversight Committee Chair Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) is requesting that the FBI probe the social media platform Parler, claiming that it may have played a role in the Capitol Hill riot earlier this month.
Rep. Maloney asked the FBI on Thursday to conduct a “robust examination” of “the role that the social media site Parler played in the assault, including as a potential facilitator of planning and incitement related to the violence” in the January 6 Capitol Hill riot, according to a report by Washington Post.
“In the days and weeks leading up to the siege, press reports detailed the rise of violent threats on Parler against state elected officials for their role in certifying the election results, and later, against Congress and its constitutional role in counting electoral votes,” said Maloney in her request.
“It is clear that Parler houses additional evidence critical to investigations of the attack on the Capitol. One commentator has already used geolocation data associated with Parler to track 1,200 videos that were uploaded in Washington, D.C.,” Maloney added.
In her request, however, Maloney makes no mention of Facebook, YouTube, or Twitter — all social media sites that were utilized by Capitol Hill protesters to organize and discuss their plans in Washington, DC on January 6.
“Nothing will stop us….they can try and try and try but the storm is here and it is descending upon DC in less than 24 hours….dark to light!” wrote Ashli Babbitt on Twitter, one day before she was fatally shot by a police officer inside the Capitol Building.
John Sullivan — the left-wing activist who was arrested and charged in connection to the Capitol Hill riot — had a Twitter account, and still has a YouTube account, which he used to post videos of the siege — videos in which he can be heard encouraging protesters on Capitol Hill.
Moreover, a criminal complaint filed on Wednesday revealed that a search warrant was issued on a protester’s Facebook account, as mounting evidence suggests that individuals used Facebook to help organize the protest.
The DOJ has filed several charges against protesters who were using Facebook to plan their visit to Washington, DC.
In Maloney’s request, the congresswoman goes on to allege that Parler has ties to Russia, adding that the company’s CEO, John Matze, has a Russian wife.
“Questions have also been raised about Parler’s financing and its ties to Russia, which the Intelligence Community has warned is continuing to use social media and other measures to sow discord in the United States and interfere with our democracy,” said Maloney.
In an interview with Washington Post, Maloney added, “I am going to get to the bottom of who owns and funds social media platforms like Parler that condone and create violence.”
Parler has been under heavy attack since early January after a plethora of prominent conservatives, and their followers, began fleeing Twitter for Parler in reaction to Twitter permanently banning then-President Donald Trump from its platform.
You can follow Alana Mastrangelo on Facebook and Twitter at @ARmastrangelo, and on Instagram.
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