Eight social media firms were urged by the chairmen of the House Oversight Committee on Friday to take action against online threats made against law enforcement, which have reportedly increased since the FBI raided former President Donald Trump’s estate Mar-a-Lago.
The lawmakers addressed letters to Twitter, TikTok, Facebook parent company Meta, Telegram, and the Trump-backed app Truth Social requesting information and records. Rumble, Gettr, and Gab, three additional platforms with primarily conservative user bases, were also contacted.
The letters ask for information on the online threats that have been made since the search of the former president’s Palm Beach, Florida, home on August 8 as well as details on corporate processes for reporting and eliminating threats.
In their letters, Oversight Chairwoman Rep. Carolyn Maloney of New York and National Security Subcommittee Chairman Rep. Stephen Lynch of Massachusetts expressed concern that Trump and his Republican allies’ comments about the search may have “unleashed a flood of violent threats on social media that have already led to at least one death.”
According to NBC News, they highlighted a warning from the FBI and Homeland Security Department that online threats against officers had increased since agents carried out the Mar-a-Lago search order.
The Democrats also made mention of a man who shot a nail gun at an FBI office in Cincinnati, Ohio, ran, and was later shot and killed by police after a shootout. Following the Mar-a-Lago raid, that person, identified by police as Ricky Shiffer, allegedly posted a number of threatening posts on Truth Social.
Maloney and Lynch urged the business to “take urgent action to address any threats of violence against law enforcement that surface on your company’s platforms.”
The Committee is Firmly Convinced That Every American Citizen Has a First Amendment Right
“The Committee firmly believes that every American has a First Amendment right to criticise their government and law enforcement, even on social media sites. Threats and calls for deadly violence, however, are abhorrent and illegal, they said.
According to the chairmen of the committee, they are also examining “whether statutory reform is required to safeguard law enforcement employees and improve coordination with federal authorities.”
In an angry statement on the evening of August 8, Trump himself reported the search, claiming that the FBI was “under siege” at his resort house.
Trump, the de facto leader of the GOP who is thinking about running for president in 2024, was supported by a number of Republican politicians who swiftly released statements denouncing the raid. The Department of Justice may have been used as a weapon against political opponents under President Joe Biden’s administration, according to some, such House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, a Republican from California.
Even former Vice President Mike Pence, whom Trump has viewed as an opponent since Pence declined to disapprove crucial electoral votes certifying Biden’s victory in the 2020 election, expressed “great worry” about the “extraordinary” action.
The letters were delivered on Friday morning and referenced multiple ominous tweets from Truth Social that “coincided” with GOP leaders’ rhetoric.
“Shooting deer is not covered by the Second Amendment! “Lock and load!” read one post. “Be prepared! Another person proclaimed, “The American Civil War is about to begin.
Maloney and Lynch are requesting the businesses to deliver the needed data by September 2nd.