The FBI has released a 15-page document warning of the dangers of “anti-government, identity-based, and fringe conspiracy theories.” The law enforcement agency says that these are “very likely to motivate some domestic extremists to commit criminal, sometimes violent activity.” The document seems to recommend increased social media and web censorship.
The FBI assesses anti-government, identity-based, and fringe political conspiracy theories very likely motivate some domestic extremists, wholly or in part, to commit criminal and sometimes violent activity. The FBI further assesses in some cases these conspiracy theories very likely encourage the targeting of specific people, places, and organizations, thereby increasing the Iikelihood of violence against these targets. These assessments are made with high confidenced, based on information from other law enforcement agencies, open-source information, court documents, human sources with varying degrees of access and corroboration, and FBI investigations.
One key assumption driving these assessments is that certain conspiracy theory narratives tacitly support or legitimize violent action. The FBI also assumes some, but not all individuals or domestic extremists who hold such beliefs will act on them. The FBI assesses these conspiracy theories very likely will emerge, spread, and evolve in the modem information marketplace, occasionally driving both groups and individual extremists to carry out criminal or violent acts. Indicators that may lead to revised judgements or cause a change in the confidence level assoc iated with this assessment include a lack of conspiracy theory-driven criminal or violent activity in the near to long term or significant efforts by major social media companies and websites to remove, regulate, or counter potentially harmful conspiratorial content.
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