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On Truth Social, F.B.I. Search Prompts Talk of War, Then Conspiracy


Predictions of imminent civil war and calls for violence surged early this week on social media platforms akin to Truth Social, the network began by former President Donald J. Trump, after the F.B.I.’s court-approved search of his Florida home on Monday.

The search, which resulted within the seizure of classified documents, in keeping with a duplicate of the warrant obtained on Friday by The Recent York Times, set off a right away outburst of aggressive and threatening language, akin to the general public rhetoric that festered in the times leading as much as the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol.

Truth Social users posted that the USA was born “through an rebellion followed by several years of bloody violence,” and that the country would “turn into a communist state just so long as we don’t pick up arms and fight back!!” There was talk that “the tree of liberty should be refreshed every now and then with the blood of patriots and tyrants,” a phrase from a letter by Thomas Jefferson, and that “sometimes clearing out dangerous vermin requires a modicum of violence, unfortunately.”

“No more a pleasant guy,” one user wrote. “We’re at war. Promise you it ain’t gonna be civil,” one other wrote. “Lock and Load,” wrote a 3rd.

An account bearing the name of Ricky Shiffer, the person who was killed in Ohio by the police on Thursday, ending a standoff that officials said began after he tried to breach the F.B.I.’s Cincinnati office, had posted messages on Truth Social recommending that “patriots” go to Florida and kill federal agents. On Thursday, the identical account also appeared to admit to an attack on the F.B.I.

In a series of recent posts, the account had railed against law enforcement and issued a “call to arms,” saying that for 2 years, “they’ve been conditioning us to just accept tyranny.” When someone asked whether he was proposing terrorism, the account responded: “I’m proposing war.” The Times couldn’t immediately confirm whether the Truth Social account belonged to Mr. Shiffer, 42, of Columbus.

Truth Social’s community guidelines note that its “preference is that the removal of users or user-provided content be kept to absolutely the minimum” but say that it can take motion in cases where the platform is being “used as a tool for crime or every other illegal acts.” On a listing of reasons to report problematic content, Truth Social includes “content that depicts violence or threat of violence.”

The feelings on Trump’s social media network prolonged to other platforms as well. One Proud Boys Telegram channel, utilized by a whole lot of members of the militant group, posted within the hours after the search that “civil war is imminent.” On Twitter, there was a tenfold increase in tweets mentioning “civil war” within the 24 hours after the raid, in keeping with Dataminr, a tool that analyzes Twitter data.

But later within the week, a distinct narrative gained traction, propelled without evidence by other distinguished Truth Social users: that calls for violence were posts planted by federal law enforcement officials or Democratic operatives to border right-wing patriots as insurrectionists and extremists. The purpose, the conspiracy theory goes, is to offer the Biden administration cover to strip Trump supporters of guns, or to establish a pretext for martial law.

Jack Posobiec, a far-right commentator, wrote on Truth Social on Thursday that “ANYONE POSTING ABOUT BEING VIOLENT RIGHT NOW IS A FED.” The news site “Conservative” advisable that individuals “assume anyone advocating ‘civil war’ or violence of any kind is a plant hoping you’ll help support the left’s narrative.”

Lara Logan, one other right-wing commentator, posted a video on Friday of an anti-F.B.I. sign twisting within the air to indicate “Trump 2024 MAGA” on the opposite side, writing that “they’ve been attempting to incite a civil war for a while.”

Within the comments to her post, someone wrote: “Remember to take the FBI out.”

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