Sen. Ed Markey Ties Big Tech to January 6 Riots

Sen. Ed Markey speaks during an event marking the anniversary of the January 6, 2021 Capitol insurrection.
(Image credit: C-SPAN)

Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) used part of his time during a Senate floor speech on the one-year anniversary of the January 6, 2021 Capitol insurrection to slam Big Tech, saying the seeds of offline harms "are planted, grown and spread online."

After talking about how anyone who "orchestrated, abetted or participated in the January 6 attack" has to be held to account.

But he said preventing another attack on democracy is a larger issue, and implicates online platforms.

"We cannot forget the role that online platforms played during the lead-up to the insurrection," he said. "Make no mistake, social media has become a hotbed of disinformation, hate speech and conspiracy theories."

Also: Journalists Exposed Ugly Face of January 6 Insurrection

He said social media platforms and algorithms promoted political disinformation that spread then President Trump's "big lie" -- that the 2020 election was stolen by the Democrats through massive voter fraud, for which there is no evidence.

Markey said they needed to "open the hood" on "online systems" pushing "toxic content" that feeds dangerous movements online.

Markey has been one of the Senate's strongest critics of Big Tech, including over political ads, disinformation, and its impact on children. ■

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.