No truth to alleged ‘evidence’ that Capitol rioter was antifa activist
CLAIM: The website PhillyAntifa.org shows a photo of a bearded man who resembles a man in the mob that stormed the U.S. Capitol building on Wednesday, proving that the rioters in the Capitol were antifa activists, not supporters of President Donald Trump.
AP’S ASSESSMENT: False. The website PhillyAntifa.org was identifying the bearded man as an individual in the neo-Nazi movement. There’s no evidence the violent rioters who breached the Capitol were supporters of antifa, short for “anti-fascists,” an umbrella term for far-left leaning militant groups.
THE FACTS: Conservative social media users are claiming to have proof that rioters who breached security at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday in an effort to overturn U.S. presidential election results were antifa activists, not supporters of President Donald Trump.
One widespread claim highlights photos of a bearded man in a yellow sweatshirt who can be found in several images taken inside the Capitol during the riots.
Social media users are comparing those photos to an image of a similar-looking bearded man posing with another, short-haired man on the website PhillyAntifa.org.
“Indisputable photographic evidence that antifa violently broke into Congress today to inflict harm & do damage,” pro-Trump attorney L. Lin Wood Jr. tweeted on Wednesday. “NOT @realDonaldTrump supporters.”
“ANTIFA in disguise,” read a Wednesday Facebook post with the photos shared thousands of times.
However, a visit to the website PhillyAntifa.org shows the bearded man people are claiming is associated with antifa was actually on the website because the site was exposing him as a “longtime neo-Nazi.”
It’s unclear whether the bearded man at the Capitol on Wednesday and the one in the PhillAntifa.org photo are the same person. Either way, the context of the photo on PhillyAntifa.org shows this alleged “evidence” of antifa activists at the Capitol is baseless.
The Washington Times went further in its assertions that the men at the Capitol were antifa activists, claiming without evidence that a facial recognition company called XRVision had identified them as such in a story on Wednesday. U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz, a Florida Republican, amplified the story by citing it on the House floor during Wednesday night’s debate.
But a founder of XRVision flatly denied those claims in a statement on Thursday, saying he didn’t know where The Washington Times got that information.
“XRVision didn’t generate any composites or detections for the Washington Times or for any “retired military officer,” nor did it authorize them to make any such claims or representations,” the statement said.
The statement said XRVision did identify some of the individuals at the Capitol as affiliates of “known Nazi organizations,” but not as antifa activists.
The Washington Times later corrected its story and apologized to XRVision in a statement.
The Associated Press on Wednesday debunked another false claim that a shirtless rioter wearing a fur cap with horns at the Capitol was an antifa activist. That man has voiced his support for Trump at rallies in recent months.
This is part of The Associated Press’ ongoing effort to fact-check misinformation that is shared widely online, including work with Facebook to identify and reduce the circulation of false stories on the platform.
Here’s more information on Facebook’s fact-checking program: https://www.facebook.com/help/1952307158131536