Report: Investigation reveals Facebook played a big part in Capitol riot - SiliconANGLE

by James Farrell 3-4 minutes 1/4/2022

Report: Investigation reveals Facebook played a big part in Capitol riot

A report released today by The Washington Post and ProPublica reveals that Meta Platforms Inc., formerly Facebook Inc., played a significant role in what happened at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 last year.

After going through what The Post said were “millions of posts” between Election Day and Jan. 6, the newspaper and ProPublica found that during that time, about 650,000 Facebook posts talked about how Joe Biden had not won the election legitimately and that drastic action needed to be taken.

“The barrage — averaging at least 10,000 posts a day, a scale not reported previously — turned the groups into incubators for the baseless claims supporters of President Donald Trump voiced as they stormed the Capitol, demanding he get a second term,” wrote The Post. “Many posts portrayed Biden’s election as the result of widespread fraud that required extraordinary action — including the use of force — to prevent the nation from falling into the hands of traitors.”

Some of those posts asked people to “rise up” against what the poster considered a “fraudulent election,” with one person saying “civil war is becoming inevitable.” Other posts called for violent action, such as people asking others to get their weapons ready, while another post asked for “arrests and executions” of various people they considered traitors.

After an investigation revealed that no trickery had happened in the election and Biden had won fairly, some people called for action against the investigators. “Bill Barr we will be coming for you,” wrote one person. “We will have civil war in the streets before Biden will be Pres.”

Meta’s response after the riot was that it hadn’t played such a starring role in fomenting the anger in the U.S. that led to the chaos. But when whistleblower Frances Haugen dropped her bombshells last year, her take on the matter was that Meta focused on a lot more on growth than safety.

“Facebook over and over again chose to optimize for its own interests, like making more money,” she said. Meta later countered that it would never allow dangerous and divisive content to circulate on the platform just to increase interactions.

Meta is currently in ongoing talks with a congressional committee about its role in the riot. Nonetheless, the Post wrote today that these new findings provide “the clearest evidence yet that Facebook played a critical role in the spread of false narratives that fomented the violence of Jan. 6.”

Photo: ruperto miller/Flickr

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