State Capitol

‘The Situation is Very Tense Right Now': Social Media Changes Amid Concerns of Future Violence

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With security top of mind at the State Capitol right now, it’s been a challenge for authorities trying to figure out how many people might show up for a possible protest.

“With the social media going dark, it became a lot more complicated for us to gauge that,” said Connecticut State Police Chief Luiz Casanova.

One site that has recently gone down is Parler. It had become a favorite of some after other social media platforms cracked down.

“It prevents these extremist ideologies and conspiracy theories from being spread to the wider public, which is something we need to do,” said Jeffrey Treistman, an assistant professor of national security at the University of New Haven.

Treistman said groups moving to other platforms – including encrypted apps – can make them more difficult to track, including for law enforcement.

“The situation is very tense right now, especially when you think about all the right-wing extremists who are advocating for openly advocating and calling for a civil war,” said Treistman.

Treistman said for decades, experts have been sounding the alarm about these groups. And now they’re using online platforms to not just talk, but to plan.

“I'm not concerned about the next week. I'm not necessarily concerned about inauguration day. I'm concerned about the years to come because many of these groups now are extremely motivated to take action and perhaps even deadly action,” said Treistman.

The professor points out local leaders have taken the necessary steps to protect government centers.

But there is concern individuals might turn to alternative tactics or targets in the future.

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