Facebook failed to prevent far-right groups from planning the US Capitol siege, according to an internal report

US Capitol
US Capitol riots.

  • Facebook failed to stop far-right groups from planning to storm the Capitol, an internal report said.
  • It showed that insurrection plans continued even after the “Stop the Steal” group was banned.
  • “Hindsight is 20/20, at the time,” the report said, adding the company will “do better next time.”
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Facebook failed to prevent far-right groups from planning the US Capitol riots on its platform, according to an internal report.

In January, pro-Donald Trump extremists broke into the House and Senate chambers to disrupt the confirmation of Joe Biden’s victory in the 2020 presidential election. The riots led to five deaths and dozens of arrests.

An internal report seen by BuzzFeed News showed that numerous groups who gathered on Facebook continued to plan the insurrection even after the far-right “Stop the Steal” group was banned.

Stop the Steal became the most popular Facebook group, accumulating more than 365,000 members in less than two days before the social media site removed it for making “worrying calls for violence.”

The report, which was shared with Facebook employees in March, said Facebook users in the Stop the Steal group and other pro-Trump groups contributed to the attack on the Capitol.

According to the report, Facebook’s attempt to dig out fake accounts and “inauthentic behavior” hindered the company from taking action against real people on the platform who were directly involved in the planning of the riots.

“Hindsight is 20/20, at the time,” the report said, per Buzzfeed. “It was very difficult to know whether what we were seeing was a coordinated effort to delegitimize the election, or whether it was free expression by users who were afraid and confused and deserved our empathy.”

Read more: Security experts slam Facebook for downplaying a massive data leak as old news

Facebook was only able to take down groups and pages when they exceeded a violation threshold. This was because the company was looking at each case individually, according to the report.

“After the Capitol Insurrection and a wave of Storm the Capitol events across the country, we realized that the individual delegitimizing Groups, Pages and slogans did constitute a cohesive movement,” the report said.

Delegitimization of elections was a “new territory” and “few policies or knowledge existed” prior to election night, Facebook’s report said.

“We learned a lot from these cases,” the report added. “We’re building tools and protocols and having policy discussions to help us do better next time.”

A Facebook spokesperson told Insider in a statement that the company tried to reduce the amount of claims of a fraudulent election by suspending Trump’s account, removing the Stop the Steal group, and labeling candidates’ post with vote-counting information.

“As we’ve said previously, we still saw problematic content on our platform during this period and we know that we didn’t catch everything,” the spokesperson said. The report is not a “definitive post-mortem report,” they added.

A week after the riots, Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook’s chief operating officer, said the event wasn’t primarily organized on the platform but admitted the company’s moderation “is never perfect.”

In March, CEO Mark Zuckerberg testified before the House Energy and Commerce Committee about the role tech its site plays in the spread of misinformation and extremism online.

Zuckerberg said the company worked with law enforcement before January 6 to identify and address threats, and remove violent posts about the attacks.

“We didn’t catch everything, but we made our services inhospitable to those who might do harm,” he added.

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Store owners in Minneapolis are boarding up ahead of the Derek Chauvin murder-trial verdict, fearing potential unrest

george floyd derek chauvin trial
Law enforcement stands guard as crews remove artwork from temporary fencing outside the Hennepin County Government Center on April 2, 2021 in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

  • Businesses in Minneapolis are preparing for the Derek Chauvin murder-trial verdict.
  • Fearing unrest, some restaurant and store owners are boarding up their premises.
  • An owner of a dry cleaners told the New York Times he’d cleared out his store.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Stores and restaurants in Minneapolis are preparing for potential unrest as they await the verdict in the Derek Chauvin murder trial.

Chauvin, a 45-year-old former police officer, is accused of killing George Floyd in May 2020. Floyd died after Chauvin kneeled on his body for 9 minutes and 29 seconds. Chauvin has pleaded not guilty to charges of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter.

The jury heard closing arguments of the trial on Monday. The verdict could arrive this week.

Floyd’s death triggered months-long protests over racism and police brutality in the US and worldwide. Some stores, including in Minneapolis, were damaged or looted, and now some business owners in the city are preempting possible unrest after the Chauvin verdict by boarding up or emptying their stores.

The Wall Street Journal reported that some businesses, including a Target, were boarded up on downtown’s Nicollet Mall. The New York Times also reported that phone stores, furniture shops, restaurants including Quruxlow and Hook Fish & Chicken, and Mercado Central, a Latino market in the city, had been boarded up.

An NPR reporter tweeted on Wednesday that Haskell’s wine shop was also boarded up.

Samir Patel, owner of dry-cleaning shop Elite Cleaners, told the Times on Monday that he’d moved customers’ clothes to his home. He hadn’t boarded up the shop, he said.

“We don’t know what will happen,” he added.

Read more: Derek Chauvin’s trial is testing the stress levels of Black Americans. Here’s what leaders and allies can do to help.

Patel said his shop suffered half a million dollars in damage in the civil unrest following Floyd’s death. He had to exhaust his savings and retirement accounts to reopen the business, he said. The city looked like “a war zone” at the time, he added.

From Wednesday, schools in Minneapolis will switch to remote learning, and razor wire has been wrapped around police buildings. National Guard troops are already present in some areas of downtown Minneapolis.

Insider has reached out to other businesses and retailers in Minneapolis to see how they’re preparing.

Are you a business owner in Minneapolis? Get in touch with this reporter via Twitter, or email kduffy@insider.com.

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People are boycotting Publix because a member of its founding family gave $300,000 to the Trump rally that led to the January 6 Capitol riots

trump us capitol siege
Trump supporters gather outside the U.S. Capitol building following a “Stop the Steal” rally on January 06, 2021 in Washington, DC.

  • People are boycotting Publix after heiress Julie Jenkins Fancelli was unmasked as a top donor to the January 6 Trump rally.
  • Fancelli is not a Publix employee but is set to inherit from the $8.8 billion founding family’s fortune.
  • Fancelli contributed most of the roughly $500,000 total raised for the “Stop the Steal” rally, the WSJ reported.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

People are calling for a boycott of Publix after the Wall Street Journal unmasked an heiress to the Southern grocery empire as the top donor to the Trump rally that led to the Capitol riots on January 6.

Julie Jenkins Fancelli, an heiress to the Publix founding family’s nearly $9 billion fortune, has previously donated millions to Republican causes and candidates. On January 30, the WSJ reported Fancelli as having contributed $300,000 out of the roughly $500,000 total raised for Trump’s now-infamous “Stop the Steal” rally.

Publix has a dedicated fanbase, but Fancelli’s contribution to the rally was the last straw for many loyal customers, The Guardian reported Monday. On Monday, the hashtag #BoycottPublix was trending on Twitter, with many users expressing outrage and claiming betrayal over Fancelli’s donation.

Fancelli’s donation was facilitated by far-right conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, who himself donated $50,000 to the rally that led to the deaths of five people, the Journal reported.

After the riots, corporations raced to cut ties with former president Trump and to end donations to political candidates that supported Trump’s attempt to overturn the election.

After the publication of the WSJ article, Publix rapidly distanced itself from Fancelli in a Twitter statement, and said it did not employ her.

Fancelli is still president of the George Jenkins Foundation, Inc., Publix founder George Jenkins’s charity, which is not affiliated with the grocery chain. Since posting the statement on January 30, the Publix Twitter account – which previously posted around once a day – has been uncharacteristically silent.

This isn’t the first time Publix has courted controversy over its political donations. It came under fire after Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis awarded the chain an exclusive vaccine distribution contract. This followed the Publix PAC donating $100,000 donation to his campaign – a spokeswoman for DeSantis said any implication that the contract was a reward for the donation was “baseless and ridiculous,” per the Lakeland Ledger.

Leaders from predominantly Black communities throughout the state also criticized the contract, saying it deprived many Black Floridians of the chance to get vaccinated.

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‘They were provoked by the president’: Mitch McConnell blames Trump for deadly Capitol riots

GettyImages mitch mcconnell
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

  • Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell blame President Donald Trump on Tuesday for his role in the deadly Capitol riots. 
  • “The mob was fed lies,” McConnell said. “They were provoked by the president and other powerful people.”
  • McConnell previously condemned the violence and was rumored to have been upset with the president.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Tuesday directly blamed President Donald Trump for motivating the violent Capitol riots that took place on January 6. 

“The mob was fed lies,” the Republican leader said on the Senate floor. “They were provoked by the president and other powerful people.”

McConnell’s rebuke of Trump comes as the outgoing president faces an upcoming impeachment trial in the Senate over the deadly siege at the Capitol. Trump was impeached last week for incitement of insurrection after his supporters breached the Capitol building while Congress was meeting to certify President-elect Joe Biden’s 2020 victory.

“They tried to use fear and violence to stop a specific proceeding of the first branch of the federal government, which they did not like,” McConnell said. “But we pressed on. We stood together and said an angry mob would not get veto power over the rule of law in our nation, not even for one night. We certified the people’s choice for their 46th president.”

McConnell condemned the violent scene after Congress reconvened to complete the election certification later on January 6.

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A disturbing video from the Capitol riots shows a police officer shouting in pain as he is crushed in a doorway by the pro-Trump mob

Capitol riot police
Riot police clear the hallway inside the Capitol on Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021 in Washington, DC.

  • A video taken during the riots at the US Capitol building on Wednesday shows a police officer being crushed in a doorway by a mob of Trump supporters.
  • The officer can be seen saying “help!” in between shouts of pain, as a large mob tries to push through an entrance to the building.
  • The riots left five people dead, including one Capitol Police officer.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

A video taken during the riots at the US Capitol building on Wednesday shows a police officer shouting in pain as he is crushed in a doorway by a mob of Trump supporters.

The rioters were trying to force their way through an entrance on the west side of the building, according to CNN, which aired the footage Friday night.

The video shows a group of officers in riot gear attempting to block the doorway, while a large mob collectively tries to push through in unison.

At some point, an officer gets pinned in the doorway, and exclaims “help!” in between shouts of pain.

The person who took the video told CNN police succeeded in keeping people from moving further into the building at this location.

The condition of the officer in the video is unknown.

 

Rioters did breach the building, causing lawmakers to evacuate and leaving five people dead, including one police officer.

Capitol Police confirmed Officer Brian D. Sicknick passed away after sustaining injuries while “physically engaging with protesters.”

The riots occurred as Congress was meeting for a joint session to certify President-elect Joe Biden’s victory.

During a rally protesting the outcome of the election, President Donald Trump spoke and incited his supporters to march to the Capitol and “stop the steal,” a reference to his unsubstantiated claims of a fraudulent election.

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Video shows pro-Trump mob charging at news crews and destroying equipment outside US Capitol building

capitol seige GettyImages 1230455307 TOPSHOT - Trump supporters clash with police and security forces as they storm the US Capitol in Washington D.C on January 6, 2021. - Demonstrators breeched security and entered the Capitol as Congress debated the a 2020 presidential election Electoral Vote Certification. (Photo by ROBERTO SCHMIDT / AFP) (Photo by ROBERTO SCHMIDT/AFP via Getty Images)
Law enforcement in Washington, DC, deployed tear gas against rioters who eventually stormed the US Capitol building.

  • A mob of Pro-Trump protesters charged and yelled threats at at news media crews outside the US capitol building on Wednesday, forcing them to flee the area.
  • The protesters also swung a flagpole at the crews and and destroyed their camera equipment.
  • Some of the protesters who had gathered in Washington, DC, to protest the presidential election results violently stormed the Capitol building earlier on Wednesday, forcing lawmakers to evacuate.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

As protesters in Washington, DC, on Wednesday became violent, a mob of pro-Trump protesters charged at news media crews reporting on the events outside the US Capitol building, according to multiple videos posted to Twitter.

The videos depicted protesters toppling metal fences that the journalists had been positioned behind, with one swinging a flag pole at a camera crew, yelling comments like “f— the mainstream media,” “get out of here,” and calling the media “traitors.”

As protesters converged, the media crews could be seen fleeing the area.

A handful of protesters then proceeded to destroy the camera equipment that had been left behind, as the crowd cheered and several people urged them to take “souvenirs.”

 

Trump has consistently criticized the news media, often referring to journalists as “the enemy of the people,” a term popularized by Joseph Stalin to describe those who opposed views pushed by his government, and has at times glorified violence against members of the press.

Thousands of Trump supporters had gathered in Washington earlier on Wednesday to attend a “March for Trump” rally to protest the certification of Joe Biden’s victory in the presidential race. Meanwhile, Republicans in Congress were in the process of mounting a challenge to Congress’ efforts to formally certify the Electoral College votes. 

Following the president’s speech, a large mob then stormed the US Capitol building, forcing the House and Senate to abruptly go into recess and lawmakers, Hill staffers, and reporters to shelter in their offices before being evacuated.

An armed standoff between rioters and police ensued, with multiple law enforcement officers injured and a woman being fatally shot.

In response to the violence, Washington, DC, mayor Muriel Bowser ordered a 6 p.m. curfew in the District of Columbia. The D.C. National Guard and Virginia National Guard have been deployed to the scene.

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Photos show the aftermath of an unprecedented destructive siege on the US Capitol Building that left one rioter dead

US Capitol Building riots
The aftermath of riots at the US Capitol Building.

  • The US Capitol Building was vandalized during a riot by supporters of President Donald Trump.
  • Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi’s office was broken into with protesters writing “we will not back down” and one rioter taking a piece of her mail.
  • One person was killed during the riot and others were injured. 
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

The nation’s capital entered mandatory curfew at 6 p.m. today following a never-before-seen siege on the US Capitol Building that saw rioters break into the during a joint session of Congress and clash with federal police who attempted to hold them back. Protests surrounding the certification of the Electoral College quickly turned violent as supporters of President Donald Trump descended upon Congress following the president’s speech near the White House.

Law enforcement agencies from around the capital including the United States Secret Service and Federal Bureau of Investigation arrived at the Capitol after the riots were underway. The neighboring states of Maryland and Virginia also sent National Guard and state police across the border into the District to assist. 

The siege left at least one person dead by gunshot, law enforcement officials told NBC News and the Washington Post, as well as countless injured. Law enforcement officials guarding the congressional chambers drew their weapons as rioters attempted to enter while pepper spray and tear gas were deployed. 

The Capitol itself also sustained damage as rioters broke windows and climbed scaffolding to gain entry. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi’s office was also vandalized. 

Here’s what the US Capitol Building looked like after rioters failed to overturn the 2020 US election.

Protests quickly escalated to riots and pepper spray was used to block access into the building. The orange liquid now stains the Capitol walls.

US Capitol Building riots
The aftermath of riots at the US Capitol Building.

US Capitol Police officers were forced to clean their eyes with water after tear gas and pepper spray was deployed.

US Capitol Building riots
The aftermath of riots at the US Capitol Building.

Rioters broke windows to gain access to the Capitol Building, with some entering and exiting unscathed by law enforcement.

US Capitol Building riots
The aftermath of riots at the US Capitol Building.

Countless broken windows like these can now be found around the building.

US Capitol Building riots
The aftermath of riots at the US Capitol Building.

Security installations were rushed and the US Capitol Police was often overwhelmed since the rioters numbered in the hundreds.

US Capitol Building riots
The aftermath of riots at the US Capitol Building.

Pelosi’s office was one target of the rioters, who left a note saying “we will not back down” in all capital letters.

US Capitol Building riots
The aftermath of riots at the US Capitol Building.

Her office was further vandalized with rioters breaking mirrors.

US Capitol Building riots
The aftermath of riots at the US Capitol Building.

One rioter sat at Pelosi’s desk and kicked his feet up.

Pelosi office
A supporter of US President Donald Trump sits inside the office of US Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi as he protests inside the US Capitol in Washington, DC, January 6, 2021

He was later photographed seemingly unscathed outside of the Capitol with a piece of Pelosi’s mail.

US Capitol Building riots
The aftermath of riots at the US Capitol Building.

Multiple nooses were erected outside the Capitol.

US Capitol Building riots
The aftermath of riots at the US Capitol Building.

Protesters erected a figure labeled “traitor” with a noose and its neck.

trump supporters protest capitol washington dc election noose traitor maga
A demonstrator holds a mannequin wearing a noose with “Traitor” written on it during a protest at the Washington Monument in Washington, DC, on, Jan. 6, 2021.

Media cameras were also destroyed and a noose was made from the cable wires.

US Capitol Building riots
The aftermath of riots at the US Capitol Building.

By the time day turned to night, at least one person had been killed in the siege.

US Capitol Building riots
The aftermath of riots at the US Capitol Building.

Read More: Woman shot dead after armed Trump supporters stormed the Capitol as lawmakers gathered to certify Biden’s win

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The largest police union in the US, which endorsed Trump in September, called on the president to ‘forcefully’ put an end to his supporters’ Capitol siege

Fraternal Order of Police, Patrick Yoes, Trump
Patrick Yoes, President of the National Fraternal Order of Police, endorsed Donald Trump in September.

  • The largest police union in the US has called on Trump to “forcefully urge” extremists to leave the US Capitol.
  • The National Fraternal Order of Police endorsed Trump in the 2020 election.
  • “Lawlessness is not how Americans affect change in our great country,” union President Patrick Yoes wrote.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Patrick Yoes, president of the National Fraternal Order of Police, called on President Donald Trump to urge the pro-Trump extremists to leave the US Capitol building.

Yoes said in an emailed statement that the actions in Washington, DC, demonstrate how critical law enforcement are to public safety.

“Without the protection afforded to us by our men and women in blue, our society cannot function,” he wrote in the statement.

“We also call on President Trump to forcefully urge these demonstrators to stop their unlawful activity, to stand down, and to disperse,” he added. “The actions of some of these demonstrators are endangering our elected officials, Congressional staff, ordinary citizens, and the law enforcement officers on the scene.”

Shortly after 1:30 p.m. on Wednesday, a group of pro-Trump rioters breached the Capitol building, forcing the evacuation of Vice President Mike Pence, members of Congress, their staff, and press.

The extremists stole and damaged government property, and members of law enforcement were injured.

It took four hours for law enforcement to secure the Capitol.

Yoes, who leads the largest police union in the nation, has been a staunch Trump supporter.

In September, the union endorsed Trump.

“President Trump has shown time after time that he supports our law enforcement officers and understands the issues our members face every day,” said Yoes said at the time. “The FOP is proud to endorse a candidate who calls for law and order across our nation.”

In his statement on Wednesday, Yoes called the scene at the Capitol building heartbreaking and commended the work of the US Capitol Police, DC Metro Police, US Park Police, and other responding agencies.

“Lawlessness is not how Americans affect change in our great country,” the statement said. 

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‘This is so un-American:’ House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy condemns violent riots in the Capitol on Fox News, confirms shots fired inside

FILE PHOTO: House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) speaks at his weekly news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., June 25, 2020. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas
House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy weekly news conference in Washington

  • Rioters protesting President Trump’s loss of the 2020 election breached the Capitol building Wednesday afternoon.
  • House Minority leader Kevin McCarthy confirmed with Fox News that he heard on a police radio shots had been fired inside the Capitol.
  • “This is so un-American,” he told Fox. “I could not be sadder and more disappointed witht the way our country looks at this very moment.”
  • McCarthy also said that he called Trump and asked him to condemn the riots and violence.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy told Fox News on Wednesday that someone inside the Capitol building had been shot.

PBS NewsHour reported, citing one source, that someone was shot in the chest within the Capitol and that it was not a uniformed officer.

“I’m with Capital police, I heard on the radio: ‘Shots fired,'” McCarthy told Fox.

He added that the riots were unprecedented: “I have been in this Capitol for more than 10 years and I’ve never seen anything like this.”

McCarthy urged an end to the violence: “I could not be sadder and more disappointed with the way our country looks at this very moment. Anyone involved in this if you’re hearing me, hear me very loud and clear, this is not the American way, this not protected by the First Amendment. This must stop now,” he said.

Capitol riot protestors
US Capitol police officers try to stop supporters of US President Donald Trump to enter the Capitol on January 6, 2021, in Washington, DC. – Demonstrators breeched security and entered the Capitol as Congress debated the a 2020 presidential election Electoral Vote Certification.

Pro-Trump rioters breached the Capitol just after 2 p.m. local time, and members of Congress were evacuated from the building.

“This is so unacceptable what I see happening. We can disagree but we do not take it to this level,” McCarthy added.

McCarthy said he had called US President Trump to encourage him to condemn the riots and violence, and do more to calm the crowd. 

“People are being hurt,” he told Fox.

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