The Capitol uprising was planned on social media – and more plans are being made on the internet in broad daylight.
While we were watching events at the Capitol on January 6th, many watched us The shock was not only due to the violence itself but also because the uprising was so simple. The rioters present had spoken extensively on public social media about their plans to storm the Capitol and commit violence, and private individuals and law enforcement had raised concerns about why this wasn’t prevented and why were we not prepared to respond?
While others are analyzing the security deficiencies from last Wednesday, we are still facing tense days before the inauguration and certainly after. Fortunately, there is still a lot of information on social media about plans for more violence, and this time around we can be better prepared. Social media are an invaluable source of information; It is important that we take seriously the threats made on social media.
All known groups were involved in the planning for January 6, from the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers to individual Trump loyalists and supporters of the QAnon conspiracy theory. They planned on Parler, the Twitter-like platform that Amazon, Apple, and Google launched over the weekend. They planned anonymous message boards like 4chan and 8kun. They planned on the Donald. win, a haven for Trump supporters who had been banned from Reddit. They also planned on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. Their contributions were widespread and their threats of violence were not hidden. A poster on theDonald.net wrote, “If there’s no blood on the streets of DC today, we’re done.”
Although the far-right social media landscape has been in chaos since the insurrection, many continue to plan their next steps.
The profile of activities and participants has now changed. Fear and paranoia have inundated most discussions of new actions. worry about the consequences they may face if they are identified. Calls for new marches and protests are almost immediately accused of “false flag” or “honeypot” operations to trick Trump supporters into showing up and being arrested.
Others feel betrayed. They are hailed as patriots but condemned by some Republican lawmakers and rejected within the movement by those who falsely attribute the violence to Antifa.
The lack of success in overturning the elections has only increased the determination of others who see this as a moment for more aggressive action. In the second half of last week, “calling next time, armed” was a common sentiment. One such post was blocked on 8kun with links to downloadable files on “Civil War Tools,” including how to make homemade silencers, picking, and survival techniques. While the social media sites that the far right side is now on are darker, they are not secret. These posts are meant to reach an audience.
There were calls for armed marches circulating the week before the inauguration, but the digital chaos of the past few days has made the organization less clear. Many of the hashtags, groups, and people are tied to false voting conspiracies that have been booted from mainstream social media. Parler was effectively closed. While dedicated supporters have found refuge on many alternative platforms, including Gab, Clouthub, Telegram, and others, a coordinated movement of action has not yet emerged.
For many, Trump’s own words have been the instructions they followed. Every tweet was broken down, analyzed, and searched for clues on social media. For example, his last tweet before Twitter finally banned him was: “For everyone who asked, I won’t go to the inauguration on
January 20th. “On social media, this was interpreted by his followers as a sign that the inauguration would not take place. This was based on conspiracies that martial law would be declared or insurgency law enacted, that the military would begin mass arrests of those in power, or that Trump would otherwise be named president. Others read into various elements of the conspiracy and concluded that Trump would be out of town and in a safe place, clearing the way for civil and military action against Biden and Congress on Inauguration Day.
After Trump’s social media de la formation, the main leadership of his insurgent supporters has disappeared. Trump still has ample access to traditional media, however, and he’s the wild card in determining what’s next. A call from him for action in connection with the initiation is enough to set the organized planning in motion on social media.
Even without Trump’s signals, the threats are still present and varied. In addition to targeting Washington, DC, armed marches are planned in all 50 state capitals. Remaining evidence, dating back to Jan. 6, also offers a warning to Trump’s online supporters included the locations of media and technology company offices and the Chinese embassy in DC. The responses from media and tech companies have enraged much of the Trump alternative social media base, and these organizations should be prepared for threats and possibly violence in the days ahead.
Would all of these threatened events happen? It’s difficult to say. The anger is real, but these forums are also the venue for great conversations that don’t always manifest as action. However, when we have learned all that depends on insurrection, it is to take these threats seriously and be ready to address and counteract them. Social media are not separate from the “real world”. We have seen digital language manifest as physical violence. When citizen monitors, the media, and law enforcement warn of online threats, every organization must take it seriously. We cannot be caught off guard again.
Wired / TechConflict.Com
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