Parler Sent Over Fifty Warnings to FBI Ahead of Jan 6th Capitol Breach
Parler, the alt-tech social media company accused of being a platform for the organisation of the January 6th Capitol protests, has revealed that it referred violent content from users to the FBI more than 50 times in the weeks leading up to the Capitol breach.
The company revealed on Thursday that it began alerting the Federal Bureau of Intelligence in December of content on the site which suggested the possibility of violence at the Capitol on January 6th.
Parler came under heavy scrutiny following the protest, with accusers alleging that Parler freely provided a platform for the organisation and incitement to insurrection. In the fallout of January 6th, Apple and Google removed the app from their online stores and Amazon ceased its web-hosting services to Parler’s website. The companies stated that Parler had broken their terms of service by failing to have an adequate content moderation system in place, asserting that Parler had become a base of operations for the violence at the Capitol.
On Thursday, Parler sent a letter to the House Oversight and Reform Committee, which is currently investigating Parler, Facebook, Twitter, and Alphabet Inc. for their roles in the riot. In the letter, obtained by the Wall Street Journal, Parler included examples of communications with FBI officials and exhibited over 50 referrals made to the bureau of materials posted on the site calling for the riot. One post made on December 24th called for an “armed force” of 150,000 people to “react to the congressional events of January 6,” and another, given to the FBI on January 2nd, showed a number of posts from a user saying he would be wearing body armour to the rally. The user stated:
“It’s no longer a protest, this is a final stand where we are drawing the red line at Capitol Hill. I trust the American people will take back the USA with force and many are ready to die to take back #USA.”
Another post relayed to the FBI included a user stating that there would be armed members of the public at the Capitol, saying “they may be concealed at first but if congress does the wrong thing expect real chaos because Trump needs us to cause chaos to enact the #insurrectionact.”
Parler’s lawyers, Michael S. Dry and Ephraim “Fry” Wernick, stated in the letter:
“These referrals represent only a fraction of the dozens of posts with violent rhetoric that Parler collected and forwarded to the FBI for investigation in the days leading up to January 6th. Parler continued to report posts after the attack. Far from being the far-right instigator and rogue company that Big Tech has portrayed Parler to be, the facts conclusively demonstrate that Parler has been a responsible and law-abiding company focused on ensuring that only free and lawful speech exists on its platform.”
The FBI has repeatedly denied that they had any warning of the events of January 6th, with FBI Director Christopher Wray telling NPR last week:
“What we did not have, as far as I can tell, is any indication that hundreds and hundreds of people were going to breach the US Capitol. And so we'll be looking hard to figure out, is there more we can be doing?”