Facebook is showing ads for military gear to far-right users, watchdog group says���

 edition.cnn.com  01/14/2021 13:11:35 

10 min ago

From CNNs Donie OSullivan

Despite last weeks insurrection, Facebook is continuing to show ads for weapon accessories, body armor, and other military gear on its site, according to the Tech Transparency Project (TTP), a nonprofit watchdog.

TPP said it found evidence to suggest the ads are being shown to Facebook users who have shown interest in far-right and militia groups.

The ads, which TTP says it saw on Facebook on Wednesday, included promotions for bulletproof vests and gun accessories.

The ads appeared in the Facebook feed of an account TTPset upto resemble a far-rightsympathizer. TPP used the account to join dozens of groupsand pages dedicated tomilitiagroupsand the far-right.

"Facebook is microtargeting these ads to an account whose only activity involves joining dozens of groups and pages dedicated to militia and the far-right," Katie Paul, director of TTP, told CNN on Thursday. "Facebook is sending a message: not only can users spend months violating platform policies to plan violence, Facebook will help users make their insurrection activity more effective while it profits from ads," she added.

A Facebook spokesperson told CNN, "We dont allow ads that praise, support or represent militarized social movements and ban ads that promote the sale or use of weapons, ammunition, or explosives."

The spokesperson also said Facebook has removed pages and groups representing militarized social movements and is continuing to take those pages down.

BuzzFeed News first reported TTPs findings.

8 min ago

From CNNs Pamela Kirkland

The U.S. Capitol stands on January 14 in Washington, DC.
The U.S. Capitol stands on January 14 in Washington, DC. Stefani Reynolds/Getty Images

Arkansas Gov. AsaHutchinsonon Thursday authorized the deployment of 500 members of the Arkansas National Guard to Washington, DC, in advance of President-elect Joe Bidens inauguration.The Arkansas National Guard will arrive in Washington on Jan. 17 and return before the end of the month.

Being in the guard is about service. Service to ones state and their nation. Were sending some of our very best to support inauguration day activities, said Maj. Gen. Kendall Penn, Arkansas National Guards adjutant general. Priority No. 1 is to protect people and property, and our guardsmen are trained very well to do just that."
6 min ago

From CNN's Konstantin Toropin

A Washington State Patrol trooper walks through the rotunda of the state capitol in Olympia on Wednesday, January 13.
A Washington State Patrol trooper walks through the rotunda of the state capitol in Olympia on Wednesday, January 13. Ted S. Warren/AP

The Washington State Police is actively monitoring threats to the state capitol in Olympia and the agency is "preparing for anything," spokesperson Chris Loftis told CNN today.

"What we're seeing are evolving threats over time," Loftis said.

He explained the agency has seen "some general threats that we can tie to specific individuals and specific groups" that have centered around comingtothe capitol to"wreak havoc and harm and keep the operations of the capitol from occurring as they normally do."

"We do follow all the social media chatter and some of these groups are quite brazen," he added.

Loftis explained that many of these threats and groups look "to make the point that they feel the election has been stolen and that the Covid restrictions that we have had in the state and others are somehow unconstitutional."

He said the agency is working withFBI, other local law enforcement agencies, and other state agencies through a "fusion center"in Seattle.

In addition to resources brought in from all eight ofWashington State Patrol's districts, Washington Gov. Jay Insleeauthorized 750 members of the National Guard to be activated, Loftis explained. As a result, "hundreds and hundreds" of personnel areat thestate capitol around the clock.

"Our position in all of this is that we're here to protect people's rights to free speech and we're here to protect the rights of assembly," Loftis added.But he cautioned "if you come onto campus, with intent to harm, whether it's the people the place or the process, we're going to respond, as law enforcement always does."

50 min ago

From CNN's Brian Vitagliano

The New York Police Department Deputy Commissioner John Miller said "the temperature is high" as it pertains to the current intelligence surrounding the inauguration.

"Nothing compares to any past threats; we have never had Americans fighting Americans on the streets of the nations capital probably since the civil war," Miller said Thursday while speaking during a teleconference call.

He said the NYPD will be sending 200 officers to Washington, DC, to assist federal partners with the policing during the inauguration. The officers will receive indoctrination and protocols and have special law enforcement powers for the time they are assisting federal counterparts.

Miller said the idea the rioters were successful in getting into the Capitol, indicates it was a "significant milestone," for the movement.

He went onto say theres indication that the arrests made across the country may have hampered that movement.

"The city of New York will do anything and everything within our power to assist the federal government," Miller continued.

When asked which group out of the extremists concerns them the most, Miller said, "This is a loosely organized movement that largely gathers electronically and mobilizes electronically and the propensity of the violence sometimes boils down to the individual."

Miller said the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force in New York is working on identifying and arresting individuals who took part in the lawlessness.

Out of an abundance of caution, Miller said, New Yorkers will see additional police resources around City Hall from Jan. 17onwards, although he stressed there are no credible threats to New York City.

22 min ago

From CNN's Evan Perez, Katelyn Polantz and Paul P. Murphy

 Kevin Seefried carries a confederate flag in the US Capitol Rotunda on January 6 in Washington, DC.
Kevin Seefried carries a confederate flag in the US Capitol Rotunda on January 6 in Washington, DC. Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

Authorities have arrested two men, including one who was pictured in the US Capitol last week holding a Confederate flag during a riot, according to the Department of Justice.

The men  Kevin Seefried and his son Hunter  were taken into custody Thursday in Delaware, according to a release.They are charged with entering restricted grounds and violent entry or disorderly conduct inside the Capitol, according to a criminal complaint in the DC District Court.

Both Seefrieds spoke to the FBI separately about taking part in the crowd that breached the Capitol on Jan. 6.

Prosecutors say the Seefrieds "entered the Senate Building through a broken window and, shortly thereafter, Kevin Seefried was photographed holding a Confederate Battle flag inside the Capitol Building."

Kevin Seefried told the FBI he had brought the Confederate flag with him to Washington from his home in Delaware, where he normally displays it outside. The father-son duo had come to the nation's Capitol on Jan. 6 "to hear President Trump speak," and marched to the Capitol following a person with a bullhorn, they told the FBI, according to the court record.

The FBI learned of the men's names after one of Hunter Seefrieds coworkers reported he had bragged about being inside the Capitol building with his father. Hunter Seefried is alleged to have punched glass out of a window in the Capitol, according to court documents made public on Thursday.

This article has been updated to reflect that two men have now been charged.

30 min ago

From CNN's Adrienne Vogt

President Trump returns toSouth Lthe White House on Tuesday, Jan 12, 2021 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
President Trump returns toSouth Lthe White House on Tuesday, Jan 12, 2021 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images) Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post/Getty Images

Colorado Democratic Rep. Jason Crow said that if President Trump wanted to stop the threat of any more violence in the US, he would say outright that President-elect Joe Biden won the 2020 election.

The President has been buildingthis; he has been radicalizinghis most fringe supporters. Hestarted with dog whistles andnow this outright rhetoric byhim and his top supporters.So talk is really cheap rightnow, Crow said in reaction to Trump releasing a video calling for calm.

If he wants to de-escalate, he will stop theseconspiracy theories, he will attempt to try to de-radicalize his supporters, and he willsay that outright.I'm not holding my breath, Crow added in an interview with CNNs Kate Bolduan.

Crow also said we are on the right path to making sure the inauguration will be secure on Jan. 20. We're almost there, he said.


1 hr 20 min ago

From CNN's Kay Jones and Evan Perez

Robert Sanford
Robert Sanford From Youtube

A man accused of striking a US Capitol Police Officer with a fire extinguisher during the Jan. 6 riots has been arrested, court documents show.

Robert Sanford was arrested on Thursday morning in Pennsylvania, according to the Justice Department.

According to the documents, he's been charged on four counts in relation to the riots, including:

  • Knowingly entering or remaining in any restricted building or grounds without lawful authority
  • Disorderly or disruptive conduct on Capitol grounds
  • Civil disorder
  • Assaulting, resisting,or impeding certain officers while engaged in the performance of official duties

The statement of facts state that Sanford was seen on video carrying a red object, which it states appears to be a fire extinguisher, as he stepped over a short wall. It says he hurls the red object towards police officers where it struck one officer who was wearing a helmet. It then ricochets and strikes another officer, without a helmet, before ricocheting again to strike a third officer in the head. That officer is also wearing a helmet, the statement said.

It also quotes Officer William Young, who said he "felt a hard strike to the back of his helmet." He saw the fire extinguisher on the ground but didn't see who struck him, the statement said. Young was evaluated at the hospital and cleared to return to duty, the statement notes.

The statement also said thatSanford was identified on Tuesday to the FBI in Pennsylvania.

Sanford was charged on Wednesday in US District Court, according to court records.

3 hr 23 min ago

From CNNs Amanda Watts

The Ohio National Guard is sending over 700 members to the nation's Capital that have some very specific capabilities, Major General John Harris said during a Thursday news conference.

Harris said Ohio has the fifth largest National Guard the country, and they are sending specific units that were requested by the federal government.

We've sent a very specialized unit called our Homeland Response Force  and that unit has the capability to not only provide security, but also they do what's called consequence management  so if there were a major event there, this unit can do very high level, high skilled search and rescue, both from confined spaces and high angle search and rescue, he said. But also, they can do it in a chemical, biological, nuclear environment  so this is a precaution that's been requested by the folks here in the National Capitol Region, and the governor's directed that we send it.

Additionally, Harris said they have sent security type forces that can augment the law enforcement there in the National Capitol Region.

He added that its two companies of specially trained folks that can help with the security of critical infrastructure there.

Ohio is also sending some communications personnel and equipment and they'll be able to provide some redundancy for communication should that become necessary, Harris said.

Some of the more than 700 National Guard units have already deployed, and more will be traveling in.

3 hr 22 min ago

From CNN's Alex Marquardt and Jeff Zeleny

Security fences are set up on the National Mall in Washington, DC, on January 9.
Security fences are set up on the National Mall in Washington, DC, on January 9. Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP/Getty Images

The general public will not have access to the National Mall on Inauguration Day, according to an official familiar with the discussions.

The official said there will be no big screens, no toilets, no panels where people stand, and that the public will not be able to get down to the mall.

There are ongoing discussions between the District, National Park Service and the US Department of Interior on when the shutdown will happen. There wont be access on Jan. 20, but when exactly before that is still the subject of discussion.

President-elect Joe Bidens advisers, who are helping plan the inaugural, say it is intended to be a virtual event. They did not object to heightened security restrictions recommended by authorities pertaining to the Mall or the area surrounding the White House.

The restrictions on the National Mall were first reported by the Washington Post.

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