Weekly Mozilla News Beat, January 8, 2021
Following the tragic events in the U.S. this week, we’ve chosen to scrap this week’s original News Beat and focus instead on articles that explore the connection between disinformation and the terrorist attack on the Capitol. Read Mozilla CEO Mitchell Baker’s thoughts on the events at the Capitol here.
Violence on Capitol Hill
For months, Trump has been spreading disinformation, telling his supporters — falsely, without evidence — that the U.S. election results were a sham. On Wednesday, his supporters took action. After a Trump speech in which he instigated supporters, armed Trump supporters breached the Capitol building in order to block electoral college votes from being finalized. The votes were finalized later that night, but the uprising led to a different outcome: the death of four people.
Social Media Giveth
At a rally in Washington D.C. Wednesday, Trump told his supporters “you’ll never take back our country with weakness, you have to show strength.” It wasn’t long after Trump’s speech ended that his supporters used social media sites like Gab and Parler to coordinate a way into Congress. According to the New York Times, supporters used the apps to share what streets to avoid to limit police run-ins and what tools to bring to pry open doors. This joined chatter from a dozen users who posted about bringing firearms into the halls of Congress.
Social Media Taketh Away
Elsewhere on social media, Trump continues to get hit with the banhammer. Following the events at the Capitol, Twitter removed three Trump tweets and suspended the president’s account for 12 hours. The next day, Facebook issued Trump an indefinite ban — which will last at least two weeks, if not longer — saying that Trump is too dangerous to leave on the platform. Both platforms, along with YouTube, removed a video from Trump Wednesday night in which he told D.C. rioters to go home and (here’s the problematic part) falsely claimed that the election “was stolen.”
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