Justice Department Report Reveals Facebook’s Dishonesty About Capitol Hill Riots

Photo by Andy Feliciotti via Unsplash

Justice Department Report Reveals Facebook’s Dishonesty About Capitol Hill Riots

By Movieguide® Staff

A new Justice Department report reveals that the majority of people arrested after the Jan. 6 Capitol Hill riot used Facebook to plan and organize their protest.

Meanwhile, Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg continues to blame other social media platforms.

“I think these events were largely organized on platforms that don’t have our abilities to stop hate and don’t have our standards and don’t have our transparency,” Sandberg said after Jan. 6.

The report’s hard data disagrees.

Forbes reported on data from the Program on Extremism at the George Washington University: 

In total, the charging documents refer to 223 individuals in the Capitol Hill riot investigation. Of those documents, 73 reference Facebook. That’s far more references than other social networks. YouTube was the second most-referenced on 24. Instagram, a Facebook-owned company, was next on 20. Parler, the app that pledged protection for free speech rights and garnered a large far-right userbase, was mentioned in just eight.

Whilst the data doesn’t show definitively what app was the most popular amongst rioters, it does strongly indicate Facebook was rioters’ the preferred platform. Previously, Forbes had reported on cases where Facebook users had publicly posted their intention to attend the riots. One included the image of a bullet with the caption, “By Bullet or Ballot, Restoration of the Republic is Coming.” The man who posted the image was later arrested after posting images of himself at the Capitol on Jan. 6, according to investigators. In other cases, the FBI found Facebook users had livestreamed their attack on the building. As the Washington Post previously reported, the #StopTheSteal hashtag was seen across Facebook in the days around Jan. 6, with 128,000 users talking about it, according to data provided by Eric Feinberg, a vice president with the Coalition for a Safer Web.

Meanwhile, Parler was removed from its webhosting service because big tech claimed the Capitol Hill riot instigators used the platform to plan.

The reality is that many of these extremists use Facebook to plan their violent protests, even before the Jan. 6 incident.

According to Forbes: “The spokesperson also noted that prior to the mob attack, as of Nov. 30, Facebook had removed about 3,200 Pages, 18,800 groups, 100 events, 23,300 Facebook profiles and 7,400 Instagram accounts for violating its policy against militarized social movements. The policy was launched in August.”

Facebook revealed that they were working with Law enforcement to bring the more violent of the Jan. 6 crowd to justice. However, so was Parler before it was forced to shut down due to its “incitement to violence.”

 A Facebook spokesperson said: “We are continuing our ongoing, proactive outreach to law enforcement and have worked to quickly provide responses to valid legal requests. We are removing content, disabling accounts and working with law enforcement to protect against direct threats to public safety.”

In principle, Facebook’s desire for public safety is commendable.

However, along with other big tech companies, Facebook has muddied the waters with their blatant censorship and moral hypocrisy—assuring that, when the dust settles, their voice stands alone.  

Related Reading: The Hypocrisy of Big Tech: Twitter’s Double Standards on Full Display After Trump Ban