While I’ve seen many a talking head decry social media as the tool Qanon conspiracy theorists used to spread disinformation and organize these rallies, this is also an important point to consider:
“With all of that said, however, the DC Metropolitan Police and the FBI will probably need to look no further than a cursory Google search to identify many of the leaders of Wednesday’s insurrection, as many of them took to social media both before and after the event to brag about it in detail. In short: you don’t need fancy facial recognition tools to identify people who livestream their crimes.”
On Wednesday, as we watched the invasion of the Capitol building play out, my first thought had everything to do with how little police and national guard presence there was. The reason that was my first thought was because we have watched this rally, and the ensuing violence, be planned right in front of our faces on social media for the last few weeks. All you had to do was pay even a little bit of attention, and it was clear that there was a significant number of people who weren’t there to simply protest, but were there fully expecting this to be the start of a civil war. It was obvious enough that I knew it, just from an occasional look at Twitter or TikTok. I didn’t even have to go to the dark corners of the web to find it.
Rightfully, the people in charge of protecting the building have resigned. There’s no excuse for not seeing this coming. But, the lesson here shouldn’t be “let’s ban them all from social media”. The lesson should be let them all stay right where they are, where we can see them planning this shit, but get people in charge who are smart enough to pay attention to it.
And, if you went live on Insta from inside the Rotunda or the Senate Floor, I hope the next place you can see is the inside of a cell at Gitmo. Maybe that will prevent the next bunch of delusional conspiracy theorists from promoting the glory of starting a civil uprising.