Twitter on alert for calls to violence on US Capitol attack anniversary

A supporter of President Trump carries a Confederate battle flag on the second floor of the Capitol Building, Jan 6.
PHOTO: Reuters

Ahead of the one-year anniversary of the storming of the US Capitol, Twitter has created a new team to review the social networking site for harmful content associated with the event, the company said on Tuesday (Jan 4).

Social media platforms including Twitter and Facebook were accused of enabling extremists to organise the siege on Jan 6, 2021, when supporters of Republican then-President Donald Trump stormed the Capitol to block Congress from certifying Democrat Joe Biden ’s presidential election victory.

Twitter said employees from teams across the company, including site integrity and trust and safety, will watch for risks related to the anniversary, such as tweets and accounts that incite violence.

The company did not say how many people were on the monitoring team.

The company added it will continue to monitor trending topics and search results on the platform for harmful content.

A spokesperson for Meta Platforms, the company previously known as Facebook, said in a statement on Wednesday: “We’re continuing to actively monitor threats on our platform and will respond accordingly.”


A spokesperson for YouTube, which is owned by Google, said on Wednesday the online video platform had removed tens of thousands of videos for violating its US elections-related policies over the past year, and said it continued to closely monitor for election misinformation on the site.

In March, the chief executives of Twitter, Google and Facebook, testified in a hearing before Congress and were asked by US lawmakers whether their platforms bore some responsibility for the attack.

Then Twitter Chief Executive Jack Dorsey was the only executive who answered “yes”, but said the “broader ecosystem” had to be taken into account.

Days after the incident, Twitter announced a permanent suspension of Trump’s account, citing “the risk of further incitement of violence”.

“Our approach both before and after Jan 6 has been to take strong enforcement action against accounts and Tweets that incite violence or have the potential to lead to offline harm,” a Twitter spokesperson said in a statement on Tuesday.

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