The same tools that radicalized violent Trump supporters could be used to bring him down
A pro-Trump mob enters the U.S. Capitol Building on Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021, in Washington, D.C.. - Win McNamee/AFP North America/TNS

Social media drove many of the Capitol rioters to engage in violent actions to overturn former president Donald Trump's election loss, and social media also helped implicate many of them in criminal activity.

House impeachment managers intend to use video posted on social media from the Jan. 6 attack as evidence against the former president, whose Senate trial is scheduled to begin Feb. 9, and Facebook and Twitter posts has helped authorities make charges against 170 alleged participants in the riot.

"I just know that when I saw this was happening I was afraid he would be there," said the ex-wife of retired Air Force Reserve officer Larry Brock, according to an affidavit. "I think you already know he was there. It is such a good picture of him and I recognize his patch."

Social media also played a major role in the attack's planning, and relatives of those charged say that Facebook and other platforms sent participants on a path of increasing political radicalization before they charged into the Capitol to undo the election results.

"He's been a lot more, I don't want to say aggressive, but a lot more scared," said 18-year-old Jackson Reffitt, who turned in his father Guy Reffitt to authorities.

The elder Reffitt got involved with "far-right extremist" groups online, according to his son, who said his father's social media activity "snowballed" into violent actions.

"He would never say the stuff he did to me a couple of years ago," Jackson Reffitt said, "not once would he even think about something like that."