A former FBI profiler told NBC News that banning people from social media makes the fight against terrorism more difficult because it prevents authorities from tracking their activity.
The remark was made in the context of a report on one of the people who stormed the Capitol building earlier this month – Lonnie Coffman, 70.
Coffman drove a van to the protest filled with Molotov cocktails and other weapons, including improvised grenades and an assault rifle, but flew completely under the radar because he was not present on social media .
The individual had no criminal record, no known extremist ties, and not a single person in the town of Falkville where Coffman lived knew who he was.
“Coffman’s statements to police after his arrest and some writings found inside his truck indicate that he was in financial difficulty and was obsessed with right-wing views,” the report said.
According to Clint Van Zandt, a former FBI criminal profiler, Coffman’s example proves that “the purge of people with radical views from popular social platforms, which has intensified in recent weeks, deprives investigators of a crucial tool to track people likely to move continuum from ideation to action. “
An FBI profiler says banning people from social media makes the fight against terrorism more difficult. Http://t.co/0XZpYLeZOs pic.twitter.com/5gHTSBGbFu
– Me, hypocrite (@lporiginalg) January 18, 2021
“We know there will be some guys out there who won’t be happy over the next four years with the Biden administration,” Van Zandt said.
“The authorities really have their work cut out for identifying Ted Kaczynski type people who are planning to make a difference in the world,” he added.
Despite the obvious result that mass censorship of social media does not extinguish extremism, it simply drives it underground and makes it harder to follow, the media united again after the attack on Capitol Hill to call to mass censorship.
After three years of intense bans, deplatforming and blacklisting of social media, political extremism on both sides only appears to have worsened.
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