Exclusive: Facebook tracking a rise in violent rhetoric tied to U.S. presidential inauguration

By Katie Paul PALO ALTO (Reuters) - Facebook Inc has seen an increase in signals indicating potential future acts of violence associated with efforts to contest the result of the U.S. presidential election since the Capitol siege last week, a company spokeswoman told Reuters. The spokeswoman, who asked not to be named for security reasons, said late Tuesday the storming of the U.S

Reuters January 14, 2021 00:14:03 IST
Exclusive: Facebook tracking a rise in violent rhetoric tied to U.S. presidential inauguration

Exclusive Facebook tracking a rise in violent rhetoric tied to US presidential inauguration

By Katie Paul

PALO ALTO (Reuters) - Facebook Inc has seen an increase in signals indicating potential future acts of violence associated with efforts to contest the result of the U.S. presidential election since the Capitol siege last week, a company spokeswoman told Reuters.

The spokeswoman, who asked not to be named for security reasons, said late Tuesday the storming of the U.S. Capitol by armed pro-Trump demonstrators appeared to be a galvanizing event, spawning efforts to organize gatherings across the country for multiple dates around President-elect Joe Biden's Jan. 20 inauguration.

Signals Facebook tracked included digital flyers promoting the events, some of them featuring calls to arms or the insignia of militias or hate groups, she said.

The FBI has warned of armed protests being planned for Washington and all 50 U.S. state capitals in the run-up to the inauguration. The Facebook spokeswoman said the pace of the company's exchange of information with law enforcement officials had likewise increased since the Capitol protests.

The FBI and Biden's inauguration team did not immediately respond to requests for comment on the Facebook report.

Violent rhetoric on online platforms had already ramped up in the weeks before last week's unrest as right-wing groups planned the assault, largely in open public view, according to researchers and public postings.

Lawmakers were forced to flee as the Capitol was mobbed by Trump loyalists, white nationalist groups and militias who overwhelmed security forces. Five people died in the violence, including a Capitol Police officer who was beaten as he tried to ward off the crowds.

After the unrest, tech companies took unprecedented steps to crack down on the baseless claims of election fraud that had spurred calls for violence. Twitter Inc and Facebook blocked Trump's accounts, while Amazon Web Services and the major mobile app stores cut off social media network Parler.

On Monday, Facebook banned content promoting the phrase "stop the steal," which has become a rallying cry at armed pro-Trump protests. The company was also blocking searches for "storm the Capitol" and flagging posts that include those phrases for further review, the spokeswoman said.

Under pressure from civil rights groups, Alphabet Inc's YouTube suspended Trump's channel for seven days.

(Reporting by Katie Paul; Editing by Kenneth Li and Lisa Shumaker)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Updated Date:

TAGS:

also read

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources
| Reuters
World

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources | Reuters

By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States

China's Xi says navy should become world class
| Reuters
World

China's Xi says navy should become world class | Reuters

BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.