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Still More DOJ Charging Documents Show Facebook — Not Parler — Most Used By Capitol Hill Rioters

Still More DOJ Charging Documents Show Facebook — Not Parler — Most Used By Capitol Hill Rioters

“Thus Jan. 6, for all of its horrible events, offered a convenient and successful excuse by which Big Tech could solve its Parler problem—even though the DOJ charging documents have now made clear that Parler’s role was minor.”

https://youtu.be/vEgIyv9bJz4

The big lie foisted on the public to excuse Apple and Google removing the Parler app and then later for Amazon booting Parler off its website hosting platform continues to unravel.

The big lie was based on the fact that a lot of conservatives had flocked to Parler, making it the first viable Twitter competitor.  This point was downplayed in favor of the fear-mongering lunacy that any place the right gathered, there just had to be plots of and plans for violence against the Capitol . . .  after all, these American Firsters and their Constitution-loving cohorts are known wrongthinkers. And stuff.

The problem, however, is that, as DOJ investigations into the events at the Capitol on January 6th unfolded, the primary social media platform used by those involved, including most recently by alleged Oath Keepers, was Facebook.  With Twitter and Instagram ranking high, and Parler barely registering—and not at all among the Oath Keepers charging documents.

Here at LI, we have covered the DOJ arrest reports and their clear findings that Facebook was the primary social platform used by the Capitol ‘rioters.’

The DOJ has apparently found some alleged Oath Keepers whom they are charging with a range of crimes (nothing close to treason or insurrection).  The documents are revealing not only in the ludicrously unserious ‘planning’ of an ‘insurrection’ but in the venue on which this almost comical ‘planning’ took place:  Facebook.

The Washington Examiner reports:

The Oath Keepers are visible in many photos from the riot. They were dressed in military-style outfits and pushed their way up the Capitol steps in what is called a “stack” formation. (It does not appear that they were the ones who initially broke into the building.) The indictment shows what they were saying to each other on social media in the days and weeks before the riot. Read together, their social media posts suggest people living in a kind of fantasy world in which they could take the Capitol, while carefully obeying Washington, D.C.’s strict gun control laws and carrying no firearms, change the course of U.S. history, and then head home.

The social media posts suggest that some of the Oath Keepers thought Trump was specifically calling on them to storm the Capitol. For example, on Dec. 19, 2020, when Trump tweeted, “Statistically impossible to have lost the 2020 election. Big protest in D.C. on January 6. Be there, will be wild!” it appears they took that as Trump telling them specifically to make it “wild” through paramilitary action.

I, and millions of other normal people who voted for Trump, heard the same thing and shrugged, knowing that the Biden win election results were going to be confirmed.  Not these people. They hopped on Facebook, not Parler, to discuss the dog whistle only they could hear.

The Washington Examiner continues:

“Trump said It’s gonna be wild!!!!!!!” defendant Kelly Meggs wrote on Facebook on Dec. 22, 2020. “It’s gonna be wild!!!!!!! He wants us to make it WILD that’s what he’s saying. He called us all to the Capitol and wants us tomakeitwild!!!! SirYesSir!!! Gentlemen we are heading to DC pack your shit!!” (All the quotations from the Oath Keepers’ social media posts include their original punctuation, capitalization, and spelling.)

The Oath Keepers discussed among themselves whether they should bring guns to the event. On Dec. 25, Meggs wrote on Facebook, “We are all staying in DC near the Capitol we are at the Hilton garden inn but I think it’s full. Dc is no guns. So mace and gas masks, some batons. If you have armor that’s good.” A few days later, on Dec. 31, Meggs wrote, “You guys gonna carry? Ok, we aren’t either, we have a heavy QRF 10 min out though.” By QRF, Meggs apparently meant a “quick reaction force” that would be stationed nearby and be ready to support the Oath Keepers whenever needed. On Jan. 3, defendant Jessica Watkins, a transgender female who served in the U.S. Army in Afghanistan, wrote to another defendant, Bennie Parker: “We are not bringing firearms. QRF will be our law enforcement members of Oathkeepers.” Parker responded: “Good to know.”

So the Oath Keepers would take the Capitol basically unarmed. Indeed, the indictment states that on Jan. 6 the group “prepared themselves for battle before heading to the Capitol by equipping themselves with communication devices and donning reinforced vests, helmets, and goggles.” It does not allege that they took weapons to the Capitol and certainly not guns. In another part of the indictment describing the defendants’ methods, prosecutors said they brought to the Capitol “paramilitary gear and supplies — including camouflaged combat uniforms, tactical vests with plates, helmets, eye protection, and radio equipment.” Again, no mention of weapons. The Oath Keepers’ idea, apparently, was that if there was trouble, they would be backed up by the quick reaction force.

. . . . But who was going to be in the force? There was vague talk of buses full of Oath Keepers arriving outside Washington to back up the small group at the Capitol. But nothing was specific. At one point, Caldwell mentioned a person, not charged and referred to as “Person Three” in the indictment, who was trying to book a room at the Comfort Inn in Ballston, Virginia, right across the Potomac from the District of Columbia. Caldwell wrote that Person Three chose the hotel, with its easy access to town, “because he feels 1) he’s too broken down to be on the ground all day and 2) he is committed to being the quick reaction force and bringing the tools if something goes to hell.”

That was the QRF? A guy who wasn’t up to spending all day in Washington, so he was going to hang around the Comfort Inn in Ballston unless he was needed to overthrow the U.S. government?

Taken together, the court papers portray the Oath Keepers as a ragtag group living in a delusional world, planning a delusional operation to bring about some sort of delusional outcome. They imagined themselves saving the country with their reinforced vests, helmets, and goggles. It would be the understatement of the year to say that they had not thought things through.

It would be comical if it weren’t somehow so very real to these people, but whatever their delusions, the one thing we know for sure is that they were doing all this on Facebook.  And Twitter.  And Instagram.  Not on Parler, at least not enough to merit even a single mention in the DOJ’s Oath Keeper charging documents, yet it was Parler who was wrongly lambasted, wrongly judged, and wrongly deplatformed.

The Federalist reports:

It’s been more than a month since the app stores of Google and Apple joined forces with Amazon Web Services to knee-cap an upstart competitor, Parler. The stated reasoning was Parler’s lack of content moderation policies, which Apple, in particular, claimed led to Parler’s use as a forum to “plan, coordinate, and facilitate the illegal activities in Washington DC on January 6, 2021.”

This reasoning was confidently repeated across the corporate press. “The Capitol mob began organizing . . . on platforms like Parler and Gab,” Vox asserted. Planning for the “mob violence that descended on the U.S. Capitol . . . took place openly on websites popular with far-right conspiracy theorists,” National Public Radio proclaimed. Facebook shut down Stop the Steal groups, said The New York Times, so planning moved to Parler and Gab.

“These events were largely organized on platforms that don’t have our abilities to stop hate and don’t have our standards and don’t have our transparency,” sniffed Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook’s chief operating officer.

. . . . Was Parler involved? Yes. Was the platform the virtual Bat Cave of Incitement and Violence that Apple, Google, Amazon, and thoroughly un-critical press reporting made it out to be? Hardly. If any single platform can be fingered as the favorite of the rioters, it appears to be Facebook.

Yet Facebook remains unmolested by the respective app stores and is suffering no critiques from opportunistic politicians. Somehow, Facebook—which, in 2018, was used to facilitate a genocide in Myanmar, and still can’t manage to stop ISIS from circulating recruitment materials—is Teflon in the face of the same charges that take down competitors like Parler, one of the very few Big Tech alternatives that has managed to break through to mainstream status.

As noted by the Federalist, Parler’s primary ‘sin’ appears to be its success; Parler was booming, attracting millions of users and threatening to undermine Big Tech’s control of the leftwing-approved, correct think narrative.

Meanwhile, by working together to silence viewpoints and dissent across multiple platforms, Big Tech can effectively remove the ability of entire groups of people to engage and persuade in the public square.

That is, until Parler. Parler was able to do what no other alternative to Big Tech has been: achieve mainstream status as a viable competitor. By operating its platform in a more First Amendment-friendly way, Parler threatened to upend the Big Tech speech cartel.

That was never supposed to happen. This was obvious in the way the Big Tech-financed “build your own” crowd responded to Parler: first by mercilessly mocking its entrance to the market, then by nodding approvingly at the pretext used for its demise. It was also obvious when Jack Dorsey, the CEO of Twitter, Parler’s most direct competitor, tweeted a heart emoji of thanks when Parler no longer appeared in Apple’s app store.

Big Tech doesn’t want market competition. But they also don’t want competition for information and narrative control. Conservatives reaching critical mass on another platform just cannot be allowed. Thus Jan. 6, for all of its horrible events, offered a convenient and successful excuse by which Big Tech could solve its Parler problem—even though the DOJ charging documents have now made clear that Parler’s role was minor.

Indeed, at this point and given the outsized role Facebook (Twitter, YouTube, Instagram)  played in the January 6th events at the Capitol, Apple, Google, and Amazon owe Parler a groveling apology.

Further, if deplatforming is really how we treat social media platforms that host such violent, ‘anti-Democracy’ plotting, then it’s time for Facebook (and Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram) to be treated the same way Parler was treated. They must be deplatformed.

After all Parler was deplatformed on mere theory and feelz, now that the evidence is in and it clearly demonstrates Facebook’s, Twitter’s, YouTube’s, and Instagram’s dominant role in the planning and organization (such as it was) of the Capitol riot, they should all be deplatformed, removed from the public sphere for the ‘crimes’ Big Tech assigned to Parler but for which DOJ documentation explicitly demonstrates these other sites are clearly guilty.

Otherwise, all we have here is a coordinated Big Tech effort to destroy a legal, viable social media competitor, and surely, that’s not what happened.

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Comments

Brave Sir Robbin | February 24, 2021 at 9:21 pm

Bust ’em up. Anti-trust-a-la-palooza time.

    JusticeDelivered in reply to Brave Sir Robbin. | February 24, 2021 at 10:51 pm

    I think that the should be sued under RICO, that they cooperated to take down competitors who were successfully taking millions of customers. I also think that they did this Quid Quo Pro, expecting that Democrats would run interference.

      Worse, I think it was done at the request of Democrat members of Congress, to skirt first amendment restrictions. Just as they’re publicly calling for Fox, Newsmax and OANN to be destroyed. By private companies. Sounds like calls to incite.

    henrybowman in reply to Brave Sir Robbin. | February 25, 2021 at 2:15 am

    Your Democlatic Congress will get right on it, chop-chop!

Katy L. Stamper | February 24, 2021 at 9:23 pm

It doesn’t matter if people communicated via Parler. Americans have a right to communicate, and platforms are not required to monitor their speech.

FB, Twit, etc., they’ve all had murderers, pedophiles, and every other type of evil on their sites.

To do away with communication, we have to get rid of the internet, telephones, email, the U.S.P.S., ham radios, etc. Get real, somebody.

Parler’s role was non-existent. So, in fact, was FaceBooks; at least up to the point where they crushed Parler.

In days of yore, these things would be organised over the phone, through the mail, or even perhaps by someone on horseback!

Do you recall anyone demanding that Ma Bells, or the postal service should be shut down and all the horses shot?

    This type of analogy is specious. Ma Bell may have been the phone company with wires, poles, and operators, but Faceboo, tweeter, myspace, etc. are not the internet. The internet is a physical infrastructure to transfer data, accessed via ISPs, etc. Faceboo, tweeter, myspace are merely virtual communities arrived at via access points.

    If one must use Ma bell analogies, imagine a neighborhood of 15 homes, all linked via a party line (for the youngsters, party line was a common method decades ago for small communities to share a low-cost phone system. The draw back was anyone with a hand set could pick-up and listen in to whomever was conversing).

    Back to Ma Bell: Homes 1-10 don’t like what homes 11-15 are talking about. It’s rude, unpleasant, derogatory, and insulting. 11-15 say, “MYOB!” 1-10 respond, “No. We’ll just unplug you from the party line!” 11-15 say, ” You can’t do that because we paid our bill!” 1-10 sneer back, “Sue us!” Then proceed to convince Ma Bell to clip their connections at the pole. Tempers flare. Law suits fly. But the damage is done, and the wheels of justice grind slow and fine.

    Meanwhile, 11-15 have no phone service and must result to writing letters or meeting at a pub. Then, the pub gets burned down, and the postal inspectors seize and censor their mail.

    See how this works?

      JusticeDelivered in reply to locomotivebreath1901. | February 25, 2021 at 7:54 am

      Our family moved out of the city in the late sixties and we were on a GTE (morphed into Verizon years later) with a six party line. One woman would take her phone off the hook in the morning to keep others from using it. GTE wouldn’t do anything about it.

      I had a commercial 100W Bogan amplifier with both 77 and 115volt line outputs. Phones had a passive network interface which included a low pass filter. They were in in hermetically sealed metal boxes. They dissipated the filtered energy as heat. Only a phone sitting off hook would be affected by a 200Hz 100 watt signal.

      The phone company knew who had their phone off hook 🙂 Weeks later someone showed up from the GTE, questioning me about it, but there was no proof except for the fried phone.

Anti-trust lawsuit anyone?

    Won’t work the issue particularly in Amazons case is that the use of its servers required a reasonable attempt at removing hate content. No such efforts were made and thus it was a straight breach of Amazons terms of Service. This is light of repeated emails to that effect to Parler.

      Dathurtz in reply to mark311. | February 25, 2021 at 7:25 am

      One issue is that “hate” is anything that isn’t totally woke.

      You might say something like “I think that we should not give preference to any race” and bam! Hate speech.

      venril in reply to mark311. | February 25, 2021 at 9:59 am

      But most of the online stuff was thru FB and Twitter, not Parler. Weird, huh?

      Brave Sir Robbin in reply to mark311. | February 25, 2021 at 10:50 am

      “required a reasonable attempt at removing hate content.”

      “Reasonable” and “hate” are two entirely subjective words.

      Such words are now granted a nebulous certitude that changes with the whim and need of a person or entity with power to suppress dissenting views, opinion, or behavior that is not liked.

      This is the road to fascism. The Nazi’s “reasonable attempt at removing hate content” was the “final solution” and the wholesale genocidal slaughter of millions.

      It’s a horrible road to march. Better to allow true tolerance ad allow all voices to be heard. At least you will be able to recognize friend from foe, and perhaps even try to peacefully counter them.

      If you leave people with no peaceful outlet to promote their causes or seek redress to grievances, you shall leave them with violence as the only remaining course of action, if they dare.

      But this, too, is a desired result of the suppression, as it justifies their use of violence against those they disagree with.

      Freedom is, and has always been, the better course. Amazon should give it a try.

        It took me far too long in my life to realize that subjectively worded contracts exist specifically to allow selective enforcement of standards.

        They are basically an appeal to the reasonableness and fairness of whoever serves as arbiter. There are people that would use words such as “reasonable” or “hate” and I would trust them to evenly apply some rational standard. We are at the point when we shouldn’t trust some stranger for that.

          Brave Sir Robbin in reply to Dathurtz. | February 25, 2021 at 1:55 pm

          Any attorney that tells you there are objective standards and definitions for the term “reasonable” in a contract should be avoided. It is a term ripe for litigation and, as you state, places you at the mercy of whom ever is the arbiter of the term. At best you can find precedent and in some areas precedent is stronger, clearer, or weaker and nebulous. Sometimes the term must be included in a contract as the only means to break an impasse, but you are leaving a wedge for litigation and placing both parties at the mercy of the arbiter. Beware.

          As the old joke goes, Q: “What to you call an attorney with an IQ below 70? Ans: “Your honor.” And throw your case to the mercy of a jury? As the saying goes, look at the average guy and realize half of all people are dumber than him. Then also realize that a jury is composed of people too stupid to figure how to get out of jury duty or to get themselves struck from selection.

          I am being nasty and snarkey, but just remember, just because a guy wears a black robe does not mean he is either bright or has any innate sense of right or wrong, and a jury is a lottery in a casino, and if you are fighting the government, remember, the house almost always wins.

          JusticeDelivered in reply to Dathurtz. | February 25, 2021 at 2:14 pm

          Vague terms can result in strict interpretation against the drafter.

          mark311 in reply to Dathurtz. | February 26, 2021 at 7:13 am

          @BSR

          I dont known how it works in the states but in the UK there are well established standard for the term reasonable. The judge has a number of golden rules they tend to follow in order to establish understanding of the merits of the case. One such test is the man on the Clapham omnibus which is in effect saying the judge ought to themselves in the shoes of the person. For example in a professional negligence claim the judge would chose a fellow professional thus the standard documents of the relevant body might be the authority for deciding what is or isn’t reasonable. More generally it would be the ordinary person without a stake in the game so to speak.

          Marx311, you need to stand down. You’re just a Brit, and your trolling is tiresome (for the record, you would be just as tiresome a troll as any nationality, color, creed, religion, 57 sexes, and etc.). Go do your eco-fasist Gaia dance of Gaia goodness for those far more worthy . . . and gullible.

        Amazons terms of service were specifically that companies can’t use AWS to host content that “violates the rights of others, or that may be harmful to others.”

        Amazon proceeded to tell Parler that some of the examples consisted of numerous death threats against popular politicians and social media figures, in addition to threats to “fight a civil war” on Jan. 20

        That’s my bad for no being specific

Now that the likes of MCCONNELL voted YES for that pscyho Garland to be the AG – and the FBI is completely corrupt, this creepiness is just the beginning.

“Oath Keepers” attacked the Capitol? Hum… now what groups had all summer to practice attacking federal buildings and, by foreign reporters, learned tactics from Asian protestors? There are reports of well coodinated younger men in NEW camo gear that pressed on to the Capitol. I am just saying that pinning this on purely “rightest” groups filmed at the Capitol by Antifa and BL< supporters is an odd mix. Just as ALL Trump supporters are suspect now, I really wonder about small splinter groups…. or as the KKK used to say… anyone new to the meetings fomenting violence was surely an FBI plant. I am waiting for the ham sandwich to be indicted also.

are you familar with the term ‘judas goat’, in my opinion you saw that on jan 6

I doubt anything was ever know at time what people wrote on Parler or Facebook, it was just a reason for totalitarians going ape.

Still not the issue. Whilst Facebook and Twitter struggle with hate content and are ineffective at removing it. Parler did nothing about its own content despite being warned of it.

    Paddy M in reply to mark311. | February 25, 2021 at 7:48 am

    Translation: it’s different when leftists do it.

    Brave Sir Robbin in reply to mark311. | February 25, 2021 at 11:04 am

    “hate content”

    This totally subjective term is being used by corporate fascists to sensor and suppress speech and ideas they do not like and to destroy business competitors.

    Bust ’em up! Too much arbitrary power irresponsibly used. Job one – anti-trust actions to break up the big-tech fascist oligarchy.

    Let’s do an Obama and declare Gates, Bezos, Soros did not build anything, and take their money and “spread it around.” Their rhetoric. Call them on it.

    retiredcantbefired in reply to mark311. | February 25, 2021 at 8:58 pm

    “Hate content” and “hate speech” are hard Leftist constructs. They can be Marxist. They can be Intersectionally Critical Racist-Genderist-Fattist-Disabilityist. Take your pick.

    The enactment of laws against “hate content” and “hate speech” is a sure path to dictatorship. Deplatforming of “hate content” and “hate speech” by tech corporations that enjoy government favor is an equally sure path to dictatorship.

    Is mark311 promoting dictatorship?

Katy L. Stamper | February 25, 2021 at 6:49 am

What really aggravates me are all the unsolved crimes around us – – – – and now we see, they could mostly be solved, but LE doesn’t care to expend the effort to use all the available resources.

Instead they use EVERYTHING at their disposal to humor the likes of that vulture pelosi.

So revolting….

The argument ought to be that any speech that’s not against the law should not be censored in a monopoly market.

“You did it worse” accepts censorship in the first place.

Lucifer Morningstar | February 25, 2021 at 10:27 am

Time to de-platform FaceyBook and Twatter as the foul cesspool of terrorists and insurrectionists they truly are and bring Zuckerberg and Dorsey to account for their criminal incitement of violence by allowing such users free reign on their platforms.

Cancel them all!!!

#CancelFacebook #CancelTwitter #CancelZuckerberg #CancelDorsey

The problem with the current deplatforming trend is the definition of the terms used to justify it. Exactly what is the definition of “hate speech”? We suffered through 50 years of defining “pornography”. We are still struggling with “inflammatory speech”, as social norms change. Currently, “hate speech” is being used as a vague justification for violating the terms of legitimate contracts. If the courts were actually working, as intended, we would see these actions being reversed wholesale.

Forgive me and please correct me if I’m off but isn’t this like if a criminal plotted a crime on a Verizon phone, AT&T was accused of letting a crime happen and AT&T was to say “no attack Verizon it was them”?

The reason Parler was de platformed is a lot of the people there to put it lightly firmly rejected any possibility that the 2020 election wasn’t stolen by millions of fraudulent votes. Amazon is open about that, it isn’t about it being used to plan the riot it is an act of political censorship against a view I disagree with but Parler having nothing to do with planning the riot doesn’t change why Jeff Bezos wanted it off the web.

Social Media is a utility in all but name, do you blame Verizon because criminals talk on phones? That is how absurd blaming social media for criminals using it is.

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