January 08, 2021

Rep. Moulton Demands Social Media Companies Cooperate with Law Enforcement

Washington, D.C. – Today, Rep. Seth Moulton is sending a letter to the heads of several technology companies demanding their assistance in tracking down as many of the domestic terrorists responsible for breaching the United States Capitol during Wednesday’s failed coup attempt. Moulton, noting that many of the rioters documented their actions both before and after the events online, called upon the social media platforms to cooperate with federal law enforcement so that the perpetrators of the attack can be brought to justice. 

“The domestic terrorists who perpetrated Wednesday’s attack may have walked out of the building, but they will not escape justice,” Moulton said.The technology companies whose platforms were used to plan and broadcast the attack have an obligation to assist the pursuit of justice. For too long, these same companies have willingly provided a platform to the extremists, nationalists and conspiracy theorists who showed up on Wednesday. It is too late to prevent this attack, but it’s never too late to do the right thing.”

In his letter, Rep. Moulton notes that social media companies “have the responsibility to preserve evidence of crimes on your platform and cooperate with the investigations” and demanding that they “do [their] part to bring them to justice.” The full text of the letter can be found below.

Wednesday, as the attack unfolded, Moulton wrote a firsthand account of what is happening and published it with CNN. “This is no protest,” he wrote, “This is anarchy. It's domestic terrorism. The people who are in the building right now are traitors to our nation.”  

 The full letter to be sent today is as follows:  

Dear Mr. Dorsey, Mr. Huffman, Mr. Matze, Ms. Pappas, Mr. Pichai, Mr. Spiegel, Ms. Wojcicki, and Mr. Zuckerberg,

The violent riots and failed coup on January 6, 2021,  came as an unprecedented attack on the United States Capitol by domestic actors. The perpetrators—spurred by the lies of President Trump, his Republican enablers, and online alt-right conspiracy theories—failed in their effort to stop the certification of President-elect Joseph R. Biden, Jr.’s electoral victory, but succeeded in threatening the lives of elected leaders, their staff, U.S. Capitol Police, journalists, the Secret Service and the Architect of the Capitol staff. These were not the actions of political protesters, but of domestic terrorists seeking to overturn a lawful election by criminal means.

These disillusioned, misled, and fanatical Americans brazenly documented their actions online and in advance, with posts across blogging and social media platforms. During the attack, the terrorists who perpetrated it produced self-incriminating evidence in the form of livestreams and photos. We are a nation of laws. One of those laws, Section 230, protects you from the liability of their actions, but it does not spare you the responsibility of aiding the investigation of this direct attack on our democracy. 

The full extent of the security breach executed by this mob will be discovered as law enforcement agencies continue their investigation. In pursuit of justice, law enforcement will require the cooperation of online platforms where evidence was posted as events unfolded. You have the responsibility to preserve evidence of crimes on your platform and cooperate with the investigations. This may include swiftly responding to subpoenas and collecting evidence, which as of this moment has been removed from some platforms. 

Social media and blogging platforms did not inspire these actions, but they did host planning activities that led to it and contemporaneous documentation of the criminal activity. Prior to the attacks, NBC News reported a study by the nonprofit Advance Democracy which warned of direct, specific threats against the Capitol building in the comments and posts on your platforms.

All of this is critical evidence of domestic terrorism. Do not let the political message of these attackers deter you from viewing their actions as anything but a crime. The individuals who stormed the Capitol used your platforms to organize an attack on our seat of government. Do your part to bring them to justice.