House Oversight Committee Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) is asking the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to examine what she says is Parler’s, which has cast itself as a conservative alternative to Twitter, role in the riot at the U.S. Capitol on January 6.
In a letter to FBI Director Christopher Wray, Maloney requested that the law enforcement agency “conduct a robust examination of the role that the social media site Parler played in the assault.”
Maloney noted that there have been several press reports that highlighted threats made by users on Parler “against state elected officials for their role in certifying the election results” as well as threats against members of Congress.
Specifically, she cited comments on Parler from the leader of the far-right Proud Boys organization, who claimed there would be “boots on the ground” on January 6.
She also noted that several Parler users have been arrested and charged with making threats against elected officials or for their participation in the riot at the Capitol.
Read the letter below:
JUST IN: House Oversight Cmte. Chair Maloney asks FBI Director Wray to investigate Parler's involvement in the Jan. 6 riots at the US Capitol. pic.twitter.com/GaVwMCTZGz
— NBC News (@NBCNews) January 21, 2021
Additionally, she said, “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.”
She noted some Parler users have been connected to Russian disinformation campaigns.
“The company was founded by John Matze shortly after he traveled in Russia with his wife, who is Russian and whose family reportedly has ties to the Russian government,” Maloney wrote. “Concerns about the company’s connections to Russia have grown since the company re-emerged on a Russian hosting service, DD0s-Guard, after being denied services by Amazon Web Services.”
“Given these concerns, we ask that the FBI undertake a robust review of the role played by Parler in the January 6 attacks, including (1) as a potential facilitator of planning and incitement related to the attacks, (2) as a repository of key evidence posted by users on its site, and (3) as potential conduit for foreign governments who may be financing civil unrest in the United States.”
Maloney also said the Oversight Committee would also investigate the social media company “to inform its oversight and legislative efforts.”
Parler, which advertised itself as a “free speech” platform, was favored by Trump supporters. However, Amazon refused to host it on its servers for not moderating violent content, and Apple and Google banned the app from their app stores following the Capitol riot.
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