Facebook Is Sharing Private Messages Of Alleged Capitol Hill Rioters With FBI

by : Daniel Richardson on : 21 Jan 2021 14:29
Facebook Is Sharing Private Messages Of Capitol Hill Rioters With FBIPA

In the wake of the riots at Washington’s Capitol Building, the FBI has been making a series of arrests. It has now been revealed that Facebook is helping the organisation by sharing private messages of those involved. 

The world watched in horror as a riot incited by former president Trump led to five deaths and a lasting threat to the sanctity of democracy. After the events, the FBI has been opening arrest warrants for those who were involved in the violent attack.


With many perpetrators already arrested, the organisation appears to have enlisted the help of Facebook to help investigate further.

Officers fighting off rioters at the CapitolPA Images

After the riot at the Capitol, Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg claimed the rioters used fringed sites to communicate, though a large amount of those who stormed the Capitol shared valuable information on Facebook, too.

So far in the 92 criminal complaints filed, 38% included social media posts from an individual who was charged with a crime. Facebook has been one of the social media platforms that has given information on a number of individuals, most notably against New York resident Christopher M. Kelly.


In a complaint filed this week, a search warrant was placed on the Facebook of Christopher M. Kelly. According to Forbes, the FBI had reportedly received information that the user had posted comments about taking the Capitol from ‘snakes’. Kelly also reportedly noted the collaboration of former NYPD workers and the right-wing group the Proud Boys in private messages.

Congress Finalises Biden’s Presidential Win After Violent Delay At The CapitolPA Images

An IP log history, shared with the FBI by Facebook, also indicted that on January 6 Kelly had travelled from New York to Silver Spring, Maryland, near Washington DC. The FBI believes Kelly planned to go the Capitol with his brother, a retired police officer.

Christopher M. Kelly has not yet been arrested, despite a warrant being issued, and remains innocent until proven guilty.


According to an analysis by the Program on Extremism at the George Washington University, social media was referenced in 78% of the 92 criminals complaints filed in the investigations into the Capitol riots. 38% are said to have included social media posts from someone who was later charged.

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Daniel Richardson

After graduating from university, Dan went on to work with a variety of tech startups and media outlets. Through working with the likes of Game Rant, The Hook and What Culture, Dan pursued his interests in technology. The skills he picked up along the way are now being utilised with UNILAD.

Topics: Technology, Capitol, Facebook, FBI, Riots, Tech