He is not alone in the unrest that has wreaked havoc in Congress. As police and the FBI work to identify and arrest members of the mob, online detectives also crowdsource information and doxe it – exposing the riots to prosecution, but also more immediate action by their bosses.
As most of the rebels stormed the Capitol without masks, online detectives had the unique opportunity to easily identify them. And many made it even easier – they broadcast their participation live and later boasted of their escapades.
Using photos and videos of journalists, as well as live videos from rebels, unspoken Twitter users and Instagram accounts, they have been working frantically since Wednesday to identify and name the participants who stormed the Capitol halls, robbed MPs̵
Some, like the Instagram account @homegrownterrorists, gained huge followers in a matter of hours. When posters believe they have identified someone, the images are updated with names and details about the person – such as his or her social media handle, hometown, or position.
The FBI is trying to do the same. On Thursday, the Washington field office posted dozens of images of insurgents on Twitter asking the public to help identify people. By early Thursday, police said they had arrested 69 people from at least 20 states and the county on charges ranging from illegal entry into public property to curfew and assault on a police officer. The department also offers a $ 1,000 reward for advice leading to an arrest.
But even for some who have not yet been charged with a crime, the consequences are quick to identify them in crowdsourcing.
Dallas-based lawyer Davis was fired Thursday as associate general counsel and human resources director at Goosehead Insurance after a Twitter user posted his story on Instagram showing Davis broadcasting live outside the Capitol and talking about wanting to get inside. Davis said in the video that he was subjected to tear gas.
Goosehead confirmed Davis’ shooting on Twitter. Davis could not be reached for comment.
A real estate brokerage firm in Chicago has confirmed that it fired agent Libby Andrews after receiving “huge coverage” in connection with her posts on social networks for “storming the Capitol”.
Andrews told the Chicago Tribune that she arrived in the Capitol after people had already invaded and did not understand what they were doing, that it was illegal.
“I had no idea that people were invading and that destruction was happening,” she told the Tribune.
Others have been stopped. A teacher in Allentown, Pennsylvania, was put on temporary leave while the school district completed an investigation into his involvement in the melee. Brad Ruxtales, CEO of Cogensia, a marketing data company in Chicago, was arrested Wednesday for his involvement in the riots. In a statement on Twitter, Cogensia said it had put Rukstales “on leave while we judge further.”
Rukstales told WBBM that he was “in the wrong place at the wrong time and I regret my role in that.”
“Everything that happened yesterday, I think, was absolutely terrible,” Rukstales said.
A lieutenant sheriff in Bexar County, Texas, who has been on leave since October while the department investigates allegations of inappropriate contact with a prisoner, is under a second investigation after she posted numerous photos of the Capitol intrusion on her Facebook account, according to KSAT. The Sanford, Florida firefighter is also on administrative leave and is being investigated after being spotted in a crowd of photos, according to Orlando Sentinel.
As of early Friday, other videos continued to be distributed virally by the rebels, who boasted of their involvement and even identified themselves.
A Facebook Live post by Jenny Cudd, a small business owner who ran a failed mayoral campaign in Midland, Texas in 2019, went viral on Twitter, garnering nearly 4 million views early Friday. In it, Cudd boasted that he had broken into the office of Parliament Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-California).
“We broke down the door to Nancy Pelosi’s office and someone stole her hammer, and I took a picture of her sitting on a chair, opening the camera, and that was on Fox News,” she said.
Fredrik Kunkle contributed to this report.