House Oversight Committee chair requests FBI probe into Parler’s role in Capitol riots

Capitol Riots

This illustration picture shows social media application logo from Parler displayed on a smartphone in Arlington, Virginia on July 2, 2020. (Photo by OLIVIER DOULIERY/AFP via Getty Images)

WASHINGTON (NewsNation Now) — Democratic Rep. Carolyn Maloney, chair of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform, is requesting that the FBI conduct an investigation into the social media platform Parler and its role in the attack on the Capitol earlier this month.

Maloney sent a letter Thursday to FBI Director Christopher Wray, asking that the agency look into whether the website potentially acted as “a facilitator of planning and incitement related to the violence” in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 6. The New York congresswoman also wants the FBI to investigate Parler’s role as a possible “repository of key evidence” or “a potential conduit for foreign governments who may be financing civil unrest in the United States.”

“Numerous Parler users have been arrested and charged with threatening violence against
elected officials or for their role in participating directly in the January 6 attacks,” Maloney wrote, citing criminal complaints in which the Justice Department noted related messages and threats made on the platform.

The FBI and Parler did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Parler, which styles itself as a “free-speech” space, remains largely offline after being dropped by Amazon’s hosting arm and major app stores after the Capitol attack, with partners citing its poor record of policing calls for violence.

Parler partially returned online with the help of a Russian-owned technology company. It has featured a handful of posts by executives and others, including Fox News host Mark Levin.

Jeffrey Wernick, Parler’s chief operating officer, told Reuters the company was posting those comments on behalf of “friends who reached out” and had not yet put in place any new content guidelines.

Maloney said she’s also asking the FBI to review Parler’s financing and its ties to Russia.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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