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Mark Zuckerberg testifying virtually before Congress. Photo: Greg Nash-Pool/Getty Images

Despite public comments from executives downplaying Facebook's role in the planning for the Jan. 6 insurrection, an internal report leaked to BuzzFeed News concluded that the company failed to adequately deal with extremists who gathered online and planned the assault on the Capitol.

Why it matters: Social networks continue to be both a significant source of misinformation as well as a gathering place for advocates of violence.

The report, which was authored by an internal task force and shared with Facebook employees, concluded that a number of groups involved in the planning of the Capitol assault gathered on Facebook, continuing to coordinate their plans even after Facebook banned the official Stop the Steal group.

Between the lines: The findings contrast with statements made by CEO Mark Zuckerberg and COO Sheryl Sandberg, which have suggested that most of the significant planning for the uprisings took place on other platforms.

"Hindsight is 20/20, at the time, it was very difficult to know whether what we were seeing was a coordinated effort to delegitimize the election, or whether it was free expression by users who were afraid and confused and deserved our empathy. But hindsight being 20/20 makes it all the more important to look back to learn what we can about the growth of the election delegitimizing movements that grew, spread conspiracy, and helped incite the Capitol insurrection."
— Facebook's internal report, per BuzzFeed

What they're saying: Facebook confirmed the report is genuine but said it doesn't represent the company's "definitive post-mortem report." The company also maintains that the report doesn't contradict Sandberg or Zuckerberg since both acknowledged that Facebook's systems weren't perfect.

  • "As we’ve said previously, we still saw problematic content on our platform during this period and we know that we didn’t catch everything," Facebook said.

Our thought bubble: In the wake of foreign interference in the 2016 election, Facebook and other social networks centered many of their safety efforts around "coordinated inauthentic behavior" — manipulation of content on their platforms by people who hid or falsified their identities. However, in this case, the threat was real people spreading misinformation and planning violence.

Go deeper

Indie game developer says Facebook rejected his ad

A screenshot of the rejected "Road 96" ad. Image: Yoan Fanise/DigixArt

Indie developer Yoan Fanise says Facebook rejected an ad he attempted to post about his road trip video game earlier this summer, citing restrictions on ads over politics, elections and social issues.

Why it matters: The rejection appears to be the result of an overzealous ad filtering system, raising questions about how a social media giant analyzes submitted content.

Scoop: Garland defends DOJ's handling of Jan. 6 probe

Attorney General Merrick Garland. Photo: Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

Attorney General Merrick Garland will tell the House Judiciary Committee on Thursday that federal prosecutors "are doing exactly what they are expected to do" in seeking accountability for the "intolerable assault" on the Capitol on Jan. 6, Axios has learned.

Why it matters: Allies of former President Trump, including Republican congressmen, have criticized the department's treatment rioters charged with crimes, and sought to recast the insurrection as a righteous protest. Garland's testimony with be his first appearance before the panel.

Updated 49 mins ago - World

Police charge man with murder of British MP David Amess

Police outside Belfairs Methodist Church in Leigh-on-Sea, England, on Oct. 15. Photo: John Keeble/Getty Images

Police said Thursday that Ali Harbi Ali, a 25-year-old British man, has been charged with the murder of David Amess, a Conservative Party lawmaker in the U.K.

The big picture: Last week, the Metropolitan Police declared the fatal stabbing a terrorist incident, saying that they had found "a potential motivation linked to Islamist extremism."