Washington Times removes article claiming facial recognition company identified some Capitol rioters as antifa
The Washington Times appeared to retract an article claiming that a facial recognition company identified members of the left-wing antifa movement that the paper said infiltrated a group of President Trump’s supporters that stormed the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday.
The company, XRVision, demanded the article be taken down and alleged that it was completely false, according to an email statement sent to The Hill. The article appeared to be taken down Thursday afternoon.
“XRVision takes pride in its technology’s precision and deems the Washington Times publication as outright false, misleading, and defamatory,” the statement read.
“Our attorney is in contact with the Washington Times and has instructed them to ‘Cease and Desist’ from any claims regarding sourcing of XRVision analytics, to retract the current claims, and publish and apology.”
The retraction comes as several conservative lawmakers and media figures blamed antifa, an umbrella term for loosely organized anti-fascist groups, for the riot that breached both the House and Senate chambers.
Footage and photos captured around the Capitol building on Wednesday showed a pro-Trump crowd breaking past Capitol Police and smashing windows to enter the premises.
The Washington Times didn’t immediately respond to comment from The Hill.
The article, which was published Wednesday, alleged that XRVision performed a facial recognition of protesters and matched “two Philadelphia Antifa members to two men inside the Senate.”
One man allegedly had a tattoo indicating he is a “Stalinist sympathizer,” the article claimed. The article also said another man identified “shows up at climate and Black Lives Matter protests in the West” but said that he had no known links to antifa.
The article went viral as the riot progressed. When the House reconvened after the siege, Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), a staunch supporter of Trump, gave a fiery floor speech in which specifically cited the Times’s article.
Prior to the article being taken down, XRVision told The Hill in a statement that the analysis actually identified two members of neo-Nazi organizations and an actor with “QAnon promotion history.” No identification associated with antifa was made with any of them.
When asked if the company was aware that the article was taken down, the attorney said it was unaware, but “unfortunately, the damage has already been done.”
The Washington Times told The Hill on Thursday evening that the story was re-uploaded with the following 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.”
The new version of the story instead cites “other evidence” that antifa members were at the riot, including a “day-after account from a law enforcement source” claiming that professional protesters were posing as “Trumpers.”
Updated 7:19 p.m.
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