Aug 19, 2022 - Politics & Policy

House panel probes online threats to federal law enforcement

Rep. Carolyn Maloney holds up a report at a House Oversight Committee hearing

Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.). Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images.

The House Oversight Committee is investigating threats made against federal law enforcement on social media.

Why it matters: The probe comes amid a spike in threats after the FBI's search of Mar-a-Lago, including against FBI and DOJ officials and the judge who approved the search warrant.

Driving the news: Chair Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) and Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-Mass.), who chairs the Oversight subcommittee on national security, sent letters to social media companies demanding "immediate action to address any threats of violence against law enforcement" on their platforms.

  • The letters also ask the companies about the volume of threats they've identified on their sites since the search — and whether there has been a "change in the nature or specificity of these threats."
  • They also request documents related to their policies on threatening posts, as well as "[a]ll advertisements shown alongside posts that were reported to law enforcement or removed by your company for threatening law enforcement."
  • The letters were sent to eight companies: Meta (the parent company of Facebook), Twitter, TikTok, Truth Social, Rumble, Gettr, Telegram and Gab.

The big picture: Threats are increasingly becoming a new normal in political life, especially for lawmakers.

  • The Capitol Police have reported a steady uptick in threats against members of Congress since 2017.
  • Even election workers have found themselves on the receiving ends of death threats after becoming entangled in conspiracy theories.
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