After Joe Biden’s inauguration as the new US President, a website was set up which is meant to help identify people who allegedly partook in the Jan. 6 Capitol Hill riots. The website has on its database facial images of thousands of people who are alleged to have laid a deadly siege on the Capitol Hill.
Faces of the Riot as the website is called includes facial captures of some 6,000 individuals based on videos that were uploaded to Parler, the controversial social networking site that had issues with Google, Apple and Amazon over the same Capitol Hill riot.
The service was recently forced offline after Amazon which provides its hosting service decided to pull its support to the platform which is popular among conservative voices like Milo Yiannopoulos and even the former US President Donald Trump.
Hackers were able to scrape posts and location data from an archive on Parler before the social media site was taken offline in order to create the video and images on the website Faces of the Riot.
The site used facial detection technology to extract images from about 827 videos which were posted on Parler from outside and inside the US Capitol building during the protest.
The website’s sole purpose is to help the FBI identify those who participated in the event according to a statement one of the site’s creator made to CNET.
“Before this, everyone being held accountable was a famous politician” or notable figure, one of the site’s creators, who asked not to be identified, told CNET through Twitter direct messages. “But there were thousands of other people there who also should be held accountable for this.”
It’s well stated on the website that every inquiry should be taken to the FBI and in case of any mismatch, the company stated it can be contacted via a DM on its official Twitter account.
The protest on Jan. 6th began when lawmakers assembled in the Capitol building to count Electoral College votes in order to confirm Joe Biden’s victory over Donald Trump however, there was a rally held by former president Trump who stated clearly that his supporters march to the building. The event then turned into a chaos which led to the death of three to five individuals.
The Faces of the Riot is a really basic site with the sole purpose of showing the faces of those alleged to being at the scene of the riot and in order to validate the individual face on the site, it linked an original video which showed where the face was captured.
The site discourages users from conducting their own investigations and encourages them to share tips with the FBI.
“We aim to make it easier to find tips to submit to the FBI, not for an average user to identify people, as that can get dangerous,” said one of the site’s creators, who described himself as computer science student in Virginia.
The site’s creators invite users to report any image that might be in the database by mistake. The site’s creators will delete errant images.
“We’ve spent about 5 hours manually removing pictures of children and non-rioters prior to publishing the database,” the site’s creator said, adding that they haven’t had any contact with the FBI, though they have submitted a few tips of their own.
The FBI didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.