Opinion | How Facebook Incubated the Insurrection

Right-wing influencers embraced extremist views and Facebook rewarded them.

Illustration by Yoshi SodeokaCredit…

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By Stuart A. Thompson and Charlie Warzel

Mr. Thompson is a writer and editor in Opinion. Mr. Warzel is Opinion’s writer-at-large.

Dominick McGee didn’t enter the Capitol during the siege on Jan. 6. He was on the grounds when the mob of Donald Trump supporters broke past police barricades and began smashing windows. But he turned around, heading back to his hotel. Property destruction wasn’t part of his plan. Plus, his phone had died, ending his Facebook Live video midstream. He needed to find a charger. After all, Facebook was a big part of why he was in Washington in the first place.

Mr. McGee is 26, a soft-spoken college student and an Army veteran from Augusta, Ga. Look at his Facebook activity today, and you’ll find a stream of pro-Trump fanfare and conspiracy theories.

But for years, his feed was unremarkable — a place to post photos of family and friends, musings about love and motivational advice.

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