Alleged Paul Pelosi attacker’s Facebook page filled with 2020 election conspiracies, reports say

Topline

The man who allegedly attacked House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband, Paul Pelosi, posted conspiracies on Facebook related to the 2020 election and the Covid-19 pandemic, reports say – the latest example of a worrying link between extremism encouraged on social networks and political violence.

Highlights

The suspect, David Depape, 42, reposted videos made by My Pillow CEO Mike Lindell – a prominent supporter of former President Donald Trump – who peddled false accounts that the 2020 presidential election had been rigged in favor of President Joe Biden, according to CNNwho confirmed the Facebook account with two relatives of Depape.

Depape’s Facebook page was also reportedly linked to a YouTube video criticizing the House Select Committee investigating the Capitol riots as a “prank committee.”

Depape shared links claiming that Covid-19 vaccines were killing people and that the pandemic was engineered by those in power to dismantle and control society, a plot known as the “Great Reset”.

None of the posts reviewed by CNN appeared to refer directly to Pelosi, the outlet reported, and it’s unclear which political party Depape identifies with.

Most of the troubling posts on Depape’s Facebook — which was deleted by the platform on Friday, according to CNN — were from 2021.

People who knew Depape said he frequently exhibited disturbing behavior, seemed out of touch with reality and was estranged from his family in Canada where he grew up, CNN reported.

Key context

Depape is suspected of breaking and entering House Pacific Heights around 2:30 a.m. Friday and attacked her 82-year-old husband, Paul Pelosi, with a hammer, San Francisco police said. Depape reportedly targeted the speaker’s house in search of him before attempting to tie up Paul Pelosi ‘until Nancy comes home’. CNN reported, citing sources familiar with the investigation. Depape – whose possible motive is under investigation – will be charged with attempted homicide, assault with a deadly weapon, elder abuse and other crimes, the police chief said. San Francisco, William Scott. Paul Pelosi was taken to hospital after the attack and is expected to make a full recovery.

crucial quote

“This morning’s horrific attack on Paul Pelosi by a man obsessed with election conspiracies is a dangerous reality encouraged by some members of my own party,” said Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.), one of the two Republicans from the January 6 committee, tweeted Friday.

Tangent

Facebook and other social media platforms served as a prominent vehicle for Trump and his allies to push bogus claims that the 2020 election was stolen and engineer the Jan. 6 Capitol Riots. Trump was kicked off Twitter after the platform accused him of tricking his followers into believing he was the real winner of the election, tricking them into entering the Capitol, where they ransacked the offices of Pelosi and other members of Congress. Depape allegedly shouted “Where is Nancy? Where is Nancy? after breaking into the speaker’s home early Friday, repeating a phrase used by Capitol rioters. The alleged attack on Pelosi’s home — and the disturbing social media activity that preceded it — is among a disturbing number of examples of violence advertised on social media that have prompted security forces to order to investigate the role of the platforms themselves in the attacks. Following the May mass shooting at a supermarket in Buffalo, New York, State Attorney General Letitia James launched an investigation into the role of social media in the attack and found that the shooter alleged had been “first indoctrinated and radicalized” through the social “fringe”. media site, 4Chan. The report details how he allegedly laid out his plans in a racist manifesto posted on the Discord site, parts of which have made their way to more mainstream platforms including Instagram, TikTok and Twitter.

Further reading

Buffalo Shooter ‘radicalized’ by social media sites, says New York attorney general (Forbes)

Will Trump return to Twitter? Here are the tweets that banned him in the first place (Forbes)

Most Republicans and Democrats believe misinformation fuels hate crimes and extremism, poll finds (Forbes)

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