The head of America's House subcommittee on intelligence and counterterrorism is on a quest to find out precisely how much money YouTube, Microsoft, Facebook, and Twitter are spending each to combat extremism across their myriad platforms.
Since representatives of the companies seemed unequipped to answer that question during a briefing late last month, their CEOs are now being asked to cough up those figures.
US Representative Max Rose, who chairs the subcommittee, sent a letter on Thursday to each of the four companies asking for among other details their annual budgets for counter-terrorism efforts and related programs, “expressed as absolute numbers as well as percentages of your company’s total annual operating budget.”
“We’ve seen in graphic detail the extent that terrorist organisations and extremists have used social media to amplify their reach and message in recent years,” he said.
“While social media companies tell us they’re taking this seriously, I want to see the numbers to back that up—and won’t stop until we get answers.”
The letter also requests the number of employees dedicated solely to countering terrorists, including, it says, domestic terrorists, far-right extremists, and white supremacists, who’ve “made use of online platforms to connect with like-minded individuals and spread their ideologies.”