Facebook could soon have another headache on Capitol Hill: Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee have requested documents from the company spanning multiple issues, two sources familiar with the committee’s efforts tell CNN.
The requests cover a number of different issues related to the company and are building toward several separate possible inquiries, one of the sources said.
Facebook has come under increased scrutiny since the 2016 election, with lawmakers and investigators raising questions about disinformation on the platform and its use by foreign entities targeting American voters, as well as Facebook’s handling of user privacy.
Some of the requests from the committee relate to the 2016 presidential campaign, though they are separate from the committee’s investigation launched this week into President Donald Trump and his campaign, businesses and administration.
The committee has also asked Facebook for information relating to how its platform has been used by people who have committed hate crimes, one of the sources said.
Also on the committee’s request list: details about voter suppression efforts on the platform, the source said. Facebook and other platforms have over the past two years taken steps to tackle efforts aimed at discouraging Americans from voting after the revelation that in 2016, a Russian government-linked troll group used the social media platform for its efforts to dissuade African Americans from voting.
The committee has also asked for information about Facebook’s ad transparency program, one of the sources said.
Facebook has implemented new requirements for political advertisers since 2016, when the Russian government-linked troll group spent thousands of dollars targeting Americans with divisive Facebook ads in the lead-up to the election.
The committee has also asked Facebook for the IP addresses used to place the Russian ads, two people familiar with the committee’s request confirmed. Devices connected to the internet have IP addresses that could be used to identify other online activity those devices were used to engage in.
A spokesperson for Facebook said it is cooperating with the committee.
The committee has sought input from experts in social media and online disinformation. Dr. Emma Briant, a researcher at George Washington University, was contacted by committee staff in recent weeks, she told CNN.
Briant pointed to companies that work for political campaigns and conduct what she described as “influence campaigns” on platforms like Facebook by running political ads targeting voters. Briant said she believes those companies need to be better regulated.
“The current regime of unregulated, unruly, unethical influence companies both makes us unsafe and undermines democratic debate,” Briant told CNN on Friday.
The House Judiciary Committee is only one of numerous House and Senate committees that have taken an interest in Facebook. Last year, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg appeared before multiple committees and the company’s COO, Sheryl Sandberg, appeared before one.