Most people probably think of Facebook as a benign internet platform used for social exchange with family and friends. It is very popular with a huge following. In 2021, there were about 2.9 billion people who used Facebook on a monthly basis.

There is, however, a dark side to Facebook that goes far beyond what anyone would view as its primary use. ProPublica and The Washington Post did an analysis of Facebook posts, company documents and interviews that provided clear evidence that this social media giant played a critical role in spreading the lies that helped incite the violent attack on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.

Between Election Day and the Jan. 6 assault, 650,000 posts appeared on Facebook that not only questioned the legitimacy of the presidential election, but also called for executions and political violence. These posts, averaging 10,000 a day, were sources for the lies and baseless claims of President Donald Trump’s supporters.

Some of these posts read: “Looks like civil war is becoming inevitable,” “We cannot allow fraudulent elections to stand” and “We are Americans; we fought and died to start our country; we are going to fight, fight, like hell; we will save her, then we’re going to shoot the traitors.”

During the past year, over 700 people who participated in the Capitol attack have been arrested and charged with various crimes. Their names, pictures, state of residence and charges are accessible on the internet. Of those charged, 70 have received some kind of sentence from a judge with 31 given jail time and the others sentenced to home detention and probation.

What about Facebook and its CEO Mark Zuckerberg? Should they be held accountable for their role in the Capitol attack?

GORDON HOLCOMB

retired teacher

Baton Rouge