Facebook Blocks Events Around D.C., State Capitols Ahead Of Biden Inauguration

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Facebook Blocks Events Around D.C., State Capitols Ahead Of Biden Inauguration

Top line

Facebook will block the creation of new events near the U.S. Capitol, White House, and all state Capitol buildings until inauguration day. This is a first for the company as it tries to prevent users from organizing violent protests next week.

The crews are installing barbed wire on top of the fence that now surrounds the U.S. Capitol in front of the fence … [+] Inaugurated on January 15, 2021 in Washington, DC

Photo by Liz Lynch / Getty Images

Key factors

Facebook says the move is “intended to further prevent people from using our services to incite violence”.

Law enforcement agencies have warned that extremists are planning armed protests against Biden’s inauguration and in state houses across the country.

Prior to last week’s siege, users were able to create events asking users to march on the Capitol, and Republican officials used Facebook to organize bus trips to Washington DC, according to the Washington Post.

Key background

Facebook has already suspended Trump’s account indefinitely and has pledged to remove all content with the phrase Stop the Steal, which has become a rally for Trump supporters who falsely believe the election was stolen from the president. And while COO Sheryl Sandberg said the riots were largely unorganized on Facebook, critics said the social network played a role in radicalizing those who stormed the Capitol, and even this week military ads ran according to news of the riot BuzzFeed News.

tangent

Facebook isn’t the only company limiting the ability to host or attend events in Washington DC. Airbnb canceled reservations in the area prior to January 20, while Megabus announced it would suspend all travel to and from DC on inauguration day.