While a debate brews over the White House, Homeland Security, Pentagon, Secret Service and FBI failures on and around Jan. 6, another piece of the equation is being cited by Rolling Stone attacking social media sites like Twitter and Facebook, which allowed insurrectionists to propagate throughout their platforms.
After the Jan. 6 attack, "Twitter employees raged at their own company and its leadership, blaming them for the social media giant’s inept handling of Donald Trump and other top MAGA figures’ incitement to violence," the report explained.
“Do you want to have more blood on your hands?” said a staffer to top executive Del Harvey, when asking whether Trump could cause more violence.
Over the past several week, Elon Musk has sounded the alarm about what he calls concerning behavior at Twitter prior to his takeover. For example, the diversity team had t-shirts promoting diversity. But the real story is that Twitter employees gave information to the House Select Committee, included in the 120-page document about Twitter's actions being "bumbling and gunshy" as radical extremists began using the platform ahead of the attack.
The full report doesn't make conclusions about the social media companies; rather it shows what was going on behind the curtain so users can see how they were able to make profits off of allowing these groups to organize online.
They did ask Congress and oversight committees to “continue to evaluate policies of media companies that have had the effect of radicalizing their consumers.”
“The sheer scale of Republican post-election rage paralyzed decision-makers at Twitter and Facebook, who feared political reprisals if they took strong action,” the report summary says.
Speaking to the J6 Committee, Twitter said that it "instituted the draft coded incitement to violence policy once rioters made it inside the Capitol, but former employees said the on-the-fly implementation was vague, confused, and ad hoc. The result of the delay, they argued, meant that 'members of the Safety Policy Team were manually taking down violent tweets, including those including ‘#ExecuteMikePence,’ using only the Twitter search function."
It goes on to highlight a Twitter leadership that seemed completely clueless about the militia groups and violent right-wingers organizing on the platform. Ron Watkins, for example, the administrator of the QAnon conspiracy group was still on the platform as late as Jan. 6. Twitter executives who were confronted by a senate aide about it replied: "Who is Ron Watkins?" It makes the company sound as if they were drifting through the insurrection dealing with people one by one with no real system.
Now that Musk has taken over the leadership, he has promised to bring back many of the figures and guarantee the platform will be a "Free Speech" zone, unless it's from reporters who wrote about Musk personally.
"Both committee staff and former employees who gave depositions singled out former Twitter Vice President for Trust & Safety Del Harvey as an obstacle to tougher enforcement against election-related extremism in the run-up to the insurrection. Harvey, the 120-page summary concludes, 'personally obstructed' the creation of a coded incitement to violence policy drafted by Twitter Safety employees in the months before the insurrection," Rolling Stone explained.