Summary List Placement
A news article from the conservative Washington Times falsely claimed that a facial-recognition software company had evidence of “Antifa” protesters pretending to be Trump supporters sieging the US Capitol, the company said.
Pro-Trump rioters entered the Capitol in Washington on Wednesday afternoon, forcing Congress to evacuate and leading to vandalism and looting of congressional offices. The Washington Times posted an article after the rioting claiming that the company, XRVision, “used its software to do facial recognition of protesters and matched two Philadelphia Antifa members to two men inside the Senate.”
But the company, as BuzzFeed News first reported, said that wasn’t true — and that the Washington Times “never attempted to contact XRVision to verify their false claim prior publication.” The Washington Times is a conservative outlet that does not adhere to “several basic journalistic standards,” according to NewsGuard, a media watchdog.
In the past, XRVision has reportedly sought to authenticate right-wing rumors about Hunter Biden using its supposed facial-recognition software, according to posts on CTO Yaacov Apelbaum’s blog. But the company “does not seem to have any relationship to the facial recognition industry or academia,” as Dave Gershgorn, a senior writer for OneZero, reported, and it remains unclear what kind of facial-recognition software it uses.
Insider sent an email to an address that appeared to be associated with the company, but had not heard back at press time.
In a statement, the company said it asked the news outlet to “retract the current claims” and “publish an apology,” BuzzFeed News reported. XRVision’s statement was also shared on Apelbaum’s blog. The Washington Times has since removed the story.
But before it was taken down, Florida Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz cited the article on the House floor. Gaetz said that “some of the people who breached the Capitol today were not Trump supporters. They were masquerading as Trump supporters and in fact, were members of the violent terrorist group antifa,” The Washington Post reported.
Those claims were echoed throughout conservative social-media circles on Thursday, where believers in the QAnon conspiracy theory and other far-right extremist figures baselessly alleged that the rioters were not actually Trump supporters. Some Trump supporters are even calling Ashli Babbitt, who died during the riots, a “false flag” without providing any verifiable evidence, as NBC News reported.