Report Finds Extremists Did Use Facebook to Plan Capitol Attack

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NBC News reports:

A number of pro-Trump extremists used Facebook to plan their attack on the U.S. Capitol, a watchdog organization has found, contradicting claims by Facebook’s leadership that such planning was largely done on other sites.

Private Facebook groups spent months advising one another about how to “take down” the U.S. government, particularly after Joe Biden was elected president, according to a report from the nonprofit Tech Transparency Project, which tracked several of them. Many of the groups specifically talked about traveling to the Capitol on Jan. 6, the date Congress counted the electoral votes that affirmed Biden’s victory.”Calls to ‘occupy Congress’ were rampant on Facebook in the weeks leading up to the deadly Capitol riot, making no secret of the event’s aims,” the report found… A sample recruitment call by a page called “Florida Patriots” said, “We are actively seeking well armed citizens to join our emergency response unit in all zones.”
BuzzFeed News notes the report contradicts earlier remarks from Sheryl Sandberg deflecting blame for the event:

Last week, Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg said the company had acted appropriately to prevent election misinformation and the incitement of violence, and attempted to pin the blame on smaller websites and apps with less content moderation. “I think these events were largely organized on platforms that don’t have our abilities to stop hate, don’t have our standards, and don’t have our transparency,” Sandberg said in an interview with Reuters.

Facebook spokespeople have since tried to walk this statement back, noting that Sandberg made the point earlier in the interview that the platform played a role in fomenting the unrest.

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