FACT CHECK: Viral Image Claims A Facial Recognition Firm Identified Members Of Antifa At The US Capitol

Elias Atienza | Senior Reporter

An image shared on Facebook claims a facial recognition firm alleged that members of antifa infiltrated the Trump supporters that stormed the U.S. Capitol.

Verdict: False

The facial recognition firm denied that it identified members of antifa in the mob that stormed the Capitol. The Washington Times retracted the article and later published a correction.

Fact Check:

Rioters with pro-Trump flags and clothing stormed the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday as Congress attempted to count the Electoral College votes and certify President-elect Joe Biden’s victory over President Donald Trump, according to The New York Times. (RELATED: Viral  Posts Falsely Claim Man Wearing A Horned Hat In The Capitol Is Antifa)

Facebook users have been sharing a screen grab of a Washington Times article that alleged the facial recognition firm XRVision identified some of the rioters as members of antifa, a group of loosely affiliated antifascist activists. The article claimed that a “retired military officer” gave the newspaper the firm’s photo match.

However, XRVision denied it had identified antifa activists in a statement to BuzzFeed News that called the Washington Times story “outright false, misleading, and defamatory.” BuzzFeed News first reported on the company refuting the Washington Times article. Yaacov Apelbaum, the chief technology officer for XRVision, also appeared to address the article on his blog.

“XRVision didn’t generate any composites or detections for the Washington Times or for any ‘retired military officer,’ nor did it authorize them to make any such claims or representations,” the company said in a statement to BuzzFeed News. “The image analysis that we performed were distributed to a handful of individuals for their private consumption and not for publication.”

In the statement to BuzzFeed News, an attorney for XRVision claimed that the firm identified two members of neo-Nazi organizations and a QAnon supporter – not antifa activists – amongst the rioters. The Dispatch Fact Check reported that one of the neo-Nazis identified by XRVision may not be the same man that was pictured during the Capitol riots.

Check Your Fact has debunked the claim that Jake Angeli, a shirtless man that was photographed wearing a horned fur hat at the Capitol on Wednesday, is a member of antifa. Angeli is a known QAnon supporter who The Arizona Republic described as a “fixture at Arizona right-wing political rallies over the past year.”

The Washington Times on Thursday removed the article from its website and later published a new version with a correction: “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.”

When Congress reconvened to certify the Electoral College votes, Republican Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz cited the Washington Times’ initial report while suggesting that members of antifa had infiltrated the Trump supporters who breached the Capitol, the Washington Post reported. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton also shared a screen grab of the original Washington Times headline on his verified Facebook page.

Evidence-less claims that people filmed and photographed breaking into the Capitol with pro-Trump flags were antifa started circulating widely on Wednesday, according to NBC News.

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

Elias Atienza

Senior Reporter
Follow Elias on Twitter Have a fact check suggestion? Send ideas to [email protected].