President Donald Trump’s supporter, Ashlee Bebbitt, was identified by the US Capitol Police as one of five people who died after a mob in the US Capitol on Wednesday. However, the 35-year-old Air Force veteran was not really well alive and well for those who conspired for the false claim.
On Parler, Facebook, Twitter and other sites, posts and videos suggested that the shooting of Babbitt was a “false flag”. Some social media users shared a link to a QAnon-linked video of the shooting, which was viewed more than 371,000 times. The conspirators slowed down the speed of the video to suspect if Bubbitt was shot. (QAnon is a far-reaching conspiracy theory that claims a “deep-seated conspiracy” against Trump and his supporters.)
The caption in the video reads, “You have left for Deepstate once. Believe in Sheepchal once again.” “In this sludge down and stop motion video you will see with your own eyes that the capital police officer rotates his gun in a different direction before firing.”
The baseless conspiracy theory about Babbitt’s death is one of several new online lies that have been rife since the riots on social media sites Capitol Hill that rocked the country. The outbreak of violence serves as another wake up call for social networks, which have long been criticized by politicians, celebrities, civil rights activists and others for not being sufficient to deal with misinformation and hate speech. Has been. It includes unfounded claims of voter fraud posted by Trump, some of which sparked deadly riots, while Congress was certifying Democrat Joe Biden as the next US president.
On Friday, Twitter took the unprecedented step of permanently banning Trump from the social network. Facebook has indefinitely closed Trump’s accounts on the main social network and its photo service. But other conspiracy theories continue, along with unfounded claims of voter fraud. Facebook and Twitter are adding labels with some of these false claims, but the practice has been inconsistent. Other social networks, such as Parlor and Gab, have allowed conspiracy theories to spread freely on their sites.
“In an interview with the New York Times, parlor CEO John Matzey said,” It’s not against a conspiracy theory. “But if they have a conspiracy theory, people should call them out for it.”
Politicians, including former First Lady Michelle Obama and civil rights groups are calling on social networks to take even more stringent action, including permanently suspending Trump from their platforms. Now that Twitter has banned Trump, Facebook, YouTube and other social networks, there is pressure to do so. Critics say that social networks should work more quickly.
“Racism, antisocialism, xenophobia, Islamophobia, and other forms of hatred on display in the United States Capitol this week are easy to find with the click of a button on a platform that serves billions of people around the world,” Stop Hate Benefits The coalition said on Friday. The group is made up of civil rights and advocacy groups, including the Anti-Defamation League and Color of Change.
Facebook and Parler did not immediately respond to a request for comment. A Twitter spokesperson said that it was labeling misleading tweets and content depicting a moment of death violated its rules.
Kate Starbird, an associate professor at the University of Washington, says the labeling of misinformation has not stopped its spread on social networks.
“I think it’s a real mistake,” she said at a press conference on Friday. Instead, social networks should quickly nibble on influential accounts that serve as sources of misinformation. On Friday, Twitter banned Michael Flynn, Sydney Powell and other high-profile Trump supporters who promoted the QAnon conspiracy theory before permanently suspending the president’s account.
A widely spread conspiracy theory claims that the rioters were members of a leftist-anti-fascism movement called Antifa, disguising themselves as Trump supporters.
Matt Getz, a Florida Republican from the US Republic, promoted the bogus idea both on social media and in a speech on the House floor. He cited an up-to-date article in the Washington Times claiming that the Facial Recognition Company, XRVision, identified the rioters as members of Antifa. The technology company denied the claim in a statement.
This conspiracy theory did not stop, however, by continuing to pop up on various social media sites. Actor Kevin Sorbo, best known for his role in the 1990s television series Hercules: The Legendary Journey, also put forward the unfounded claim on Twitter. One tweet he shared this week was manipulated by Twitter, while others were not in the media. Fact-checking users clicking on a label on a page found no evidence that the Antifa Activists shocked the US Capitol.
Another video shared on social media claimed that an Antifa member admitted that he was paid to protest at the Capitol Building. The video has been debunked by fact checkers.
On Facebook, some posts pushing the antifa conspiracy theory were also labeled for misinformation or missing references. A screenshot of a tweet by defamation lawyer and Trump supporter Lynn Wood who falsely claims that QAnon supporter Jake Engeli is a member of Antifa was labeled as misinformed on Facebook. Users were directed to an article from a fact-checking site. Wood has been suspended from Twitter. However, similar claims using other images were not labeled.
Outside the major social networks, conspiracy theories continue on sites spread by conservatives. A site that was created after Reddit banned the popular Donald Trump colony has become a den of conspiracy theories.
Displaying a depiction of the shooting of Babbitt, users known by pseudonyms argued back and forth as to whether she was actually calling the distressed actor or member of Antifa. Others seemed unsure what to think.
“I’m still trying to figure out if it was real,” one user wrote referring to Bubbitt’s death. “A lot of strange things happened in that video.”
Another user replied: “It was real.”