Assault on the Capitol: Technology’s Role

Jan 6, 2021

Thousands of domestic terrorists raid the U.S. capital building, with the blessing of president Trump

Capitol Police aim their guns as domestic terrorists attempt to storm the chamber. Photo: Andrew Harnik/AP
Noose erected outside the capitol. Getty Images | A domestic terrorist hangs from the Senate Chamber's balcony. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

This wasn’t an isolated incident, there’s a clear preceding chain of events involving radicalisation, improper moderation, and spread of misinformation online. We’ll take a deep dive into how the pandemic had an effect on the radicalisation of so many people on social media through an analytical lense, as this had a profound role in this tradegy happening.

House members were advised to hide beneath their chairs. Photo: Andrew Harnik/AP

Social Media, Misinformation, and Far-Right Reactionary Movements

Earnings Over Ethics

“It’s the gradual, slight, imperceptible change in your own behavior and perception that is the product.” — Jaron Lanier, The Social Dilemma

Radicalization and Spread of Misinformation

Covid-19 Primes the Fuse

Smoke fills the walkway outside the Senate Chamber as insurrectionists are confronted by U.S. Capitol Police officers inside the Capitol, Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

“Trust the [Delusional] Plan”: Unachievable Prophecy Leads to Violence

The grim reality is: their messiah Trump is a deranged fascist, using his supporters ignorance in an attempt to bolster his crazed self-serving delusions. This fact is simply too much to handle. The believers simply cannot accept that they were conned; as shame has a powerful effect on one’s psyche.

Rioters climb the west wall of the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)
Rioters try to break through a police barrier, Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021, at the Capitol in Washington. As Congress prepares to affirm President-elect Joe Biden’s victory, thousands of people have gathered to show their support for President Donald Trump and his false election fraud claims. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

Trump’s Lights the Powder-Keg


  1. (Ramakrishna, 2010; Saddiq, 2010; Stevens and Neumann, 2009)
  2. (Silber and Bhatt, 2007)
  3. (von Behr et al. 2013, sec. 3.4)
  4. (Bjelopera, 2011)
  5. Behr, Ines von, Anais Reding, Charlie Edwards, and Luke Gribbon. 2013. “Radicalisation in the Digital Era: The Use of the Internet in 15 Cases of Terrorism and Extremism.”
  6. (Briggs and Strugnell, 2011; Shetret, 2011)
  7. (Saddiq, 2010)
  8. (Schaan, Phillips, 2011)
  9. (Stevens, Neumann, 2009)
  10. (von Behr et al. 2013, sec. 3.5)
  11. (Pantucci, 2011)
  12. (von Behr et al. 2013, sec. 3.7)
  13. Wolf, Cam. “How the Attack on the Capitol Happened, From Planning to Siege to Arrests.” GQ. Accessed January 14, 2021.
  14. Craig Timberg, Drew Harwell. “Capitol Siege Was Planned Online. Trump Supporters Now Planning the next One.” The Washington Post. WP Company, January 12, 2021.



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Tiffany Abraham

Full-stack developer. Alumna of Flatiron School's Software Engineering Immersive bootcamp. Portfolio: