Members of Congress seek answers from DLive, BitTorrent on last month's U.S. Capitol riot

Quick Take

  • Members of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence sent a letter to blockchain-based streaming platform DLive “expressing concern” on how some users have used the platform to incite right-wing extremism.
  • The letter contains questions about how effectively DLive’s new policies related to content and the use of its token are combatting this type of usage.
  • The lawmaker letter also asks if any foreign-based token donations occurred in relation to the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.

Lawmakers have sent a letter to DLive and BitTorrent executives in the wake of last month's storming of the U.S. Capitol, "expressing concern" about the way some users have utilized the platform to incite violence.

BitTorrent, a peer-to-peer file-sharing protocol, acquired DLive in October of 2020. The blockchain-based video platform is known to be more lenient with content restrictions compared to competing platforms like YouTube. 

Multiple right-wing commentators who were present at the January 6 event have followings on the DLive platform and earned the BitTorrent token (BTT) on content related to the storming of the Capitol. Members of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence allege their content encouraged extremist actions. The committee's letter, addressed to BitTorrent CEO Justin Sun and DLive CEO Charles Wayn, says DLive isn't doing enough to combat extremism on its platform. 

"As members of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, our concern is that online platforms such as DLive are being used to promulgate extremist views that incite offline conflict and violence," said the letter.

DLive said it has since removed these accounts and restricted the use of BTT for "non-gaming" content. However, lawmakers say gaming content is also a threat, since Southern Poverty Law Center found it to be just as influential in converting young people to potentially extremist actions.

In response, lawmakers are requesting information from DLive and BitTorrent. These questions include information about their strategy to combat extremism and more detailed question about the use of its token.

Congress is specifically inquiring if there are any mechanisms in place to identify foreign blockchain donations and if any such donations were made in relation to the events of Jan. 6. Chainalysis already identified one foreign-based bitcoin donation to right-wing extremist commentators present at the Capitol. 

DLive has made new rules to curb online extremism on its platform, but Congress wants to know how effective they are, according to its letter.

"We have worked with other platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube to reform their governance practices around extremist content and that work is still ongoing," said the letter. "But it is clear that DLive is well behind its peers in platform governance and needs to take serious reformative actions."

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