‘Hang them all’: January 6 committee members target violent rhetoric on right-wing social media platforms: A recent research has discovered that on some of the same online forums that helped fuel the lies that led to the uprising, calls for violence against members of the January 6 committee are circulating. These online platforms helped fuel the lies that led to the uprising.
Users on these platforms are openly advocating for the execution of committee members, and it appears that Wyoming Representative Liz Cheney is the special target of these calls. On January 6, chants demanding that former Vice President Mike Pence be hanged could be heard around Washington, DC. These same demands are still being voiced online.
It can be difficult for law enforcement to differentiate between statements that are merely hyperbole and those that may pose a real danger.
According to statements made by John Cohen, who served as the Counterterrorism Coordinator for the Department of Homeland Security and is now an adjunct professor at Georgetown University, authorities are unable to dismiss as mere hyperbole posts on social media that contain potentially alarming language.
Cohen characterised the monitoring of social media as a “resource intensive process that must involve federal, state, and local authorities who are working together, who are operating under strict protocols that ensure that they are able to distinguish between constitutionally protected speech and activity related to threats.” Cohen said that this process requires all levels of government to collaborate.
In addition, he stated that “We’re in an extremely volatile and complex threat time.”
Rep. Adam Kinzinger, a Republican from Illinois, disclosed on Sunday that he had received a letter in the mail that threatened to execute him, his wife, and their newborn child. This is the latest in a string of internet threats.
Following the uprising, both Facebook and Twitter made the decision to ban then-President Donald Trump from their sites for violating their terms of service. This move was a boon to a cottage industry of alternative social media platforms that was blossoming at the time.
The alternative websites, such as Trump’s Truth Social platform, which debuted in February, market themselves as bulwarks of free speech. They do this by capitalizing on the perception that certain Republicans have been unfairly censored by Silicon Valley and marketing themselves as bastions of free speech. According to Truth Social’s mission statement, the company “encourages your unconstrained free expression” and “seeks to build a free speech refuge in the social media realm.” According to its rules of service, users are not allowed to make “violent” or “harassing” posts.
A study that was conducted by the organization Advance Democracy, which is a non-profit organization that performs investigations in the public interest, and which was shared with CNN uncovered posts on Truth Social calling for the murder of members of the January 6 committee and other individuals. The researchers conducted a search across the platforms for particular phrases such as “execute.”
One of the posts on Truth Social contains the following text alongside a picture of a noose: “The J6 committee is responsible for treasonous acts. Those responsible for the continuation of the uprising should be executed.”
A user submitted a GIF of a guillotine with the phrase “#MGGA #MakeGuillotinesGreatAgain” on another post that referenced Cheney.
On Tuesday, CNN questioned Truth Social about multiple posts that were found on the platform to contain threatening language. Among them were posts that included images of a noose and a GIF of a guillotine. CNN did not receive a response to its requests for comment from Truth Social; but, by Wednesday, it appeared that the posts in question had been removed from the platform.
In addition to Truth Social, Advance Democracy observed violent rhetoric connected to the January 6 committee posted to other alternative social media platforms. These platforms included 4chan, which was used by the suspect in the mass shooting in Buffalo, New York, as well as Gab and another message board that is popular among some Trump supporters.
Even while many of the messages that Advance Democracy found looked to have minimal participation, all of the posts are representative of a trend in which members of these online forums frequently invoke violent behavior.
In the beginning of this month, a member posted a posting on a message board that was supportive of Trump saying, “IF we ever decide to storm the capitol again, I promise we won’t make the mistake of being unarmed a second time.”
Since then, the post has been taken down.
CNN’s inquiries for a statement from 4Chan were not met with a response from the website.
CNN was given the following statement by Andrew Torba, CEO of Gab: “Gab allows for any legal political speech that is protected by the First Amendment. This includes discussion on inherently political matters like the charge and punishment of treason through the judicial system in the United States. When discussion crosses the line into direct and imminent threats of violence, we will take action and engage with our colleagues in law enforcement to neutralize any concerns to the public that may exist as a result of the discussion.”
Some people who post on these sites will never go on to commit acts of violence, but others will, as shown by the social media posts of some of the persons who have been charged for their role in the uprising.
According to Ben Decker, CEO of Memetic, a digital investigations company, according to CNN, “given the lack of content filtering on fringe platforms populated by far-right communities, the volume of threats is far larger than on mainstream platforms.”
According to Decker, the most troubling aspect of some of these posts is that they appear to advocate “real-world violence” and are comparable to many of the threats that surfaced in the weeks leading up to January 6th.
According to the president of Advance Democracy, Daniel J. Jones, the internet threats appear to have originated from individuals who had a mistaken belief that the election in 2020 was rigged. He stated, “It’s apparent that the lies and acts taken by Trump, and those politicians that support him, continue to pose a severe threat to our democracy and the peaceful transition of power.” “It’s clear that the lies and actions performed by Trump, and those lawmakers that support him.”
There will be no statement from the United States Capitol Police. CNN has also contacted out to the FBI, the office of Vice President Pence, and the office of former Vice President Cheney for comment.