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Ciara O'Rourke
By Ciara O'Rourke January 7, 2021

No, facial recognition didn’t confirm antifa infiltrated Trump supporters at the Capitol

If Your Time is short

  • The Washington Times reported on Jan. 6 that XRVision, a facial recognition firm, had analyzed footage and claimed antifa had infiltrated Donald Trump supporters who stormed the U.S. Capitol. 
     
  • XRVision has denied that and said that the individuals it identified were not associated with antifa. 
     
  • Rather, the company said, two of the individuals were associated with “two known Nazi organizations.”
     
  • The Washington Times has since corrected its story.
     
 

Violence roiled the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 as supporters of President Donald Trump stormed the building, some waving Trump flags and wearing Trump attire while Capitol Police ushered lawmakers, press and staffers to safe shelter. But claims wrongly blaming antifa activists for the demonstration are proliferating on social media — and some say they have proof.

"BOOM!" one user posted on Facebook. "IT HAS NOW BEEN CONFIRMED ANTIFA INFILTRATED THE TRUMP RALLY IN DC TODAY!!"

The post shares a screenshot of a headline from a Jan. 6 Washington Times story: "Facial recognition firm claims Antifa infiltrated Trump protesters who stormed Capitol." 

This post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.)

The Washington Times story says that a "retired military officer" told the publication "that the firm XRVision used its software to do facial recognition of protesters and matched two Philadelphia antifa members to two men inside the Senate."

The story doesn’t include any images of protesters but the Times reported that "the source provided the photo match to The Times" and described them. 

"One has a tattoo that indicates he is a Stalinist sympathizer," the story says. "XRVision also identified another man who, while not known to have antifa links, is someone who shows up at climate and Black Lives Matter protests in the West."

We emailed XRVision to ask about the claims and an attorney for the company responded with a statement from XRVision. 

The company denied generating "any composites or detection imagery" for the Times or a "retired military officer."

XRVision did analyze footage from yesterday and identified several people, whose identities the company shared with law enforcement, according to the statement. 

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It concluded that two of the men "were affiliated with the Maryland Skinheads and the National Socialist Movements." 

"These are two known Nazi organizations, they are not Antifa," the statement said.

Pictures of these men were posted on the blog Philly Antifa, which describes itself as a site "for all things Antifascist" centered around Philadelphia. But the blog does not identify them as Philadelphia antifa members. Rather, it connects them to the Maryland Skinheads and the National Socialist Movement. (We’ve written more about one of the men here.)

The third person XRVision identified was "an actor with some QAnon promotion history," XRVision said. "Again, no Antifa identification was made for him either." 

We’ve already debunked a claim that this person was an "Antifa thug." You can read that fact-check here.

XRVision said in its statement that its lawyer had told the publication to retract the claims in its story and publish an apology. We reached out to the Washington Times about the statement and did not immediately receive a reply. But soon after, the story link redirected to the Washington Times homepage and appeared to have been pulled from the publication’s website.

The publication later responded that it added a correction to the story, which was live again. The correction said: "An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that XRVision facial recognition software identified Antifa members among rioters who stormed the Capitol Wednesday. XRVision did not identify any Antifa members. The Washington Times apologizes to XRVision for the error." 

We rate the claim that XRVision’s facial recognition "confirmed antifa infiltrated the Trump rally" False.

UPDATE (Jan. 8, 2021): Following initial publication of this fact-check, the Washington Times responded to PolitiFact to say that it had corrected its story. We have updated this fact-check to reflect that change.

This fact check is available at IFCN’s 2020 US Elections #Chatbot on WhatsApp. Click here, for more.

 

Our Sources

Facebook post, Jan. 6, 2021

The Washington Times, Facial recognition firm claims Antifa infiltrated Trump protesters who stormed Capitol, Jan. 6, 2021

PolitiFact, High-ranking California Republican lawmaker pushes misinformation about storming of U.S. Capitol, Jan. 6, 2021

PolitiFact, Face-painted man in horned fur cap at Capitol riot supports TRump and QAnon, not antifa, Jan. 7, 2021

Philly Antifa, Keystone United exposed Day 15, Sept. 24, 2018

Statement from XRVision, Jan. 7, 2021

Email from Washington Times, Jan. 7, 2020

 

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No, facial recognition didn’t confirm antifa infiltrated Trump supporters at the Capitol

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