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The Race to Preserve the DC Mob’s Digital Traces

On Wednesday, the mob that stormed the Capitol building brought with them technology such as iPhones, smartphones, and other devices live streaming their forced entry into the building and documenting their endeavors through photographs posted to social media. Some removed property from the federal building and posed for incriminating pictures with the evidence. One man, a lawmaker from West Virginia Derrick Evans, used Facebook Live to broadcast the forced entry while 4,000 watched.

Evans took down the live stream and his Twitter account was suspended indefinitely. Other live streams have been removed by participants themselves, scrambling to scrub their feeds of evidence from the insurrection. Social media giants are also moving to remove the harmful content, some of which violates policies such as Facebook’s Dangerous Individuals and Organizations policy. While citizen journalists are working diligently to preserve the documentation and report back to agencies like the FBI, which has released a solicitation for photographs of individuals who were a part of the riot, the users themselves have seemingly attempted to remove all incriminating footage.

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