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Capitol riots have led online platforms to crack down on livestreams ahead of the inauguration

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Facebook plans to block “the creation of any new Facebook events” near the White House, the US Capitol and any state capitol buildings through Inauguration Day.

“We’re monitoring for signals of violence or other threats both in Washington, DC and across all 50 states,” the company said in a statement. “In the lead up to Inauguration Day, we have implemented a series of additional measures to continue preventing attempts to use our services for violence.”

YouTube says it has removed multiple videos shot during the assault on the Capitol that appeared to incite violence or show Capitol rioters carrying firearms. The company told CNN it will continue to remove livestreams and other content that violate its guidelines on hate, harassment and election integrity.

And DLive, a streaming service popular with gamers, announced after the Capitol attack it had suspended seven of its users for incitement of violence and illegal activities on January 6.

DLive has since announced additional measures and said it’s blocking all livestreams from the Washington, DC, area on Inauguration Day.

Some fear the Capitol livestreams could inspire further violence

Security experts fear extremists like the ones who invaded the Capitol may be motivated by widely shared images portraying that siege as a success.

The Capitol livestreams provided a platform to spread hate while encouraging those who film them to pander to their followers, said Pete Eliadis, a former law enforcement official and founder of Intelligence Consulting Partners.

Eliadis believes the streamers’ revealing their vantage point inside the Capitol also has broader national security ramifications.

Protesters storming the US Capitol building on January 6.

“It’s being watched by state actors all over the world. … If I’m a bad actor, I know the layout of the Capitol … I can see the defenses, the police response and I can counter that now,” he told CNN. “That’s a huge challenge on a larger scale platform.”

Mob mentality and instant gratification also play a big role,he said.

“Individuals are filming this, they’re blasting it to their followers, their followers are picking it up and it’s bringing immediate feedback and instantaneous reward,” he said. “You’re seeing the impact of your filming, you’re getting that adrenaline rush, you’re almost pandering to your audience. “

That gives the “influencers” more incentive to frame the story through their own lenses, which leads to a dangerous form of power that “enhances the ideology and the movement,” Eliadis said.

Extremists can earn money from livestreams

Some streaming services offer opportunities for their users to make money.

For example, DLive allows users to buy “lemons,” a form of digital currency, using a credit card or cryptocurrency. Each lemon is worth $0.012, and users can donate lemons to a streamer, which can be converted into real money.

On DLive, users can host talk shows, stream their gaming sessions or stream other events in real time — and earn money doing it.

Three women tape signs thanking US Capitol Police officers in a tunnel toward the House of Representatives in the wake of the January 6 attack.

Some commenters watching on DLive called the Capitol assault a “second revolution” and awarded lemons to a handful of users who were streaming from in or around the building.

DLive later intervened, freezing those accounts and saying that lemons donated to those users would be returned to donors.

All streaming platforms have their own influencers who equate fame with money. To stand out, some users engage in a degree of acting — almost like they’re starring in their own movies — to earn revenue, said Cindy Otis, vice president of analysis at Alethea Group, which tracks disinformation and social media manipulation.

And most users will flock to platforms where they can monetize their content, Otis said. For extremists, that can mean smaller, fringe platforms which have less restrictive policies on content and advertise themselves as homes for “uncensored” speech, she said.

Some extremists have moved to more permissive corners of the internet

As platforms crack down on hate speech and incendiary content, extremist ideologies are finding new homes, says Megan Squire, a professor at Elon University in North Carolina and an expert on online extremism.

After the attack on the Capitol, some alternative livestream channels saw growth of up to 200% within hours, Squire told CNN.

Armed National Guard troops are helping to secure government buildings and maintaining a perimeter around the US  Capitol.

“When they are removed from mainstream platforms, extremists and other bad actors will sometimes gravitate to lesser-known platforms in order to continue whatever behaviors got them banned in the first place,” Squire said. “Typically these behaviors include violent rhetoric, hate speech, trolling and harassment, and so on.”

For political extremists, one appeal of fringe or less tightly run platforms can be lax content oversight.

“There is always a risk that any platform that does not have good content moderation standards and strategies will be used by bad actors,” Squire said. “There are smaller platforms that do a great job of content moderation, and there are large platforms that do a terrible job. It’s less about the size than it is about how committed the platform is to enforcing its own standards of behavior.”

Even on smaller platforms such as DLive, extremists make up only a fraction of users.

DLive says the vast majority of its users focus on gaming, with less than 10% talking about current events or politics. And Squire said some DLive gamers are using the platform’s community chats to applaud the suspension of the Capitol rioters and express their frustration at being associated with White supremacists.



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Dow surges more than 500 points

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The Dow (INDU) surged more than 500 points, or 1.5%, in the late morning, and the S&P 500 (SPX) — the broadest measure of Wall Street — was up 1.2%. The tech-focused Nasdaq Composite (COMP) rose 0.7%.
The Dow stands to snap a five-day losing streak, its longest since January, while the S&P is looking at its first gain in four days — its longest losing streak since February.

The stock market losses came on the heels of last week’s Federal Reserve policy update, which paved the way for a sooner-than-predicted interest rate hike.

The Fed’s projections showed interest rates would increase in 2023, though some central bank officials even think a rate hike would be feasible next year. On Friday, St. Louis Fed President James Bullard said during an interview with CNBC that he believes rates should be raised as soon as the end of 2022.

Higher interest rates are perceived as negative for stocks even if they come on the coattails of a stronger economy because they would mean higher borrowing costs for companies.

Pain in the crypto-verse

But it’s not all rallies and green arrows Monday. Bitcoin dipped nearly 5%, dropping to its lowest level in about two weeks. One bitcoin bought nearly $32,900, according to coindesk data.

The drop came on the back of China cracking down further on cryptocurrencies, both in terms of mining bitcoin and trading digital currencies.

“Bitcoin needs to expedite transitioning mining out of China,” said Edward Moya, senior market analyst at Oanda.



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Dow plummets more than 500 points as volatility returns to stock market

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The Dow fell more than 530 points Friday, a drop of around 1.6%. It was a broad-based selloff, with all 30 Dow stocks finishing in the red. Intel (INTC), Goldman Sachs (GS) and Walgreens (WBA) were among the biggest decliners.

The Dow is now on a five-day losing streak, falling nearly 3.5% this week. That’s the worst weekly pullback since late January.

Bullard, who does not have a say on the Fed’s policy committee this year but will have a vote in 2022, also said in the interview that the Fed is also starting to discuss the idea of tapering, or cutting back, its bond purchases.
Wall Street is worried about inflation. But investors are also nervous about the Fed taking away the stimulus it injected into the market during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“There is more future volatility ahead,” said Bruce Monrad, portfolio manager of Northeast Investors Trust. “It should increase as the Fed starts to think about raising rates and once it starts tapering.”

These market gyrations could become more routine, which may alarm investors who have gotten used to more calm on Wall Street.

It’s actually been an unusually quiet first half of 2021 — despite the craziness with meme stocks like AMC (AMC) and GameStop (GME) and the big moves in bitcoin (XBT) and other cryptocurrencies.
This cannabis stock is a new Reddit favorite
If you look at the broader stock market, and the VIX (VIX) volatility index in particular, 2021 has been serene for investors.

“Volatility has been very low because the market overall supported by improving earnings,” said Marco Pirondini, head of equity at Amundi US. “But there is always some speculation in other corners of the market.”

The VIX, which many investors refer to as Wall Street’s “fear gauge,” is now hovering around the pre-pandemic levels of February 2020. It’s been steadily declining since peaking in March of last year. The VIX has fallen nearly 15% in 2021.

But the VIX spiked about 10% Friday, and some experts warn that the summer and latter half of 2021 could be a bit bumpier than the first six months of the year.

“When you look at the VIX, it’s eerily quiet. But that’s a little bit misleading,” said Darren Schuringa, CEO and founder of ASYMmetric ETFs, which runs a fund designed to lower investor risk.

Schuringa said he’s worried about the “speculative excess” in the meme stocks as well as in the tech sector and thinks that a broader market correction could be on the horizon.

It’s also clear, as Friday’s market pullback illustrates, that investors are hyperfocused on every little thing the Fed says about interest rates, tapering, inflation and the economy.

“I’m concerned about volatility in the second half of year. There is less room for error,” said Daniela Mardarovici, co-head of US multisector fixed income at Macquarie Investment Management. “Even a mild surprise from the Fed could create an aftershock.”

Still, it’s worth noting that volatility, while rising lately, remains relatively low. Measures of volatility for oil and interest rates have tumbled in recent months, along with the VIX.

“We could see some hiccups ahead. But it’s still pretty calm,” said Bill Sterling, global strategist with GW&K Investment Management.

Investors may also be overreacting to every utterance by Fed members. After all, Bullard is just one person, who doesn’t even have a vote until next year. The remaining Fed members still don’t think a rate hike is imminent.

“Big changes from the Fed are likely still years away. This volatility might be transitory but it will rear its head every now and then because of more uncertainty,” said Marvin Loh, senior global macro strategist with State Street Global Markets.



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Dow plummets 500 points as volatility returns to stock market

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The Dow fell 500 points in late morning trading Friday, a drop of around 1.5%. It was a broad-based selloff, with 29 of the 30 Dow stocks in the red. Caterpillar (CAT) was the only winner while Intel (INTC), Goldman Sachs (GS), American Express (AXP) and Walgreens (WBA) posted the biggest drops.

The Dow is now on pace for its fifth straight day of losses, falling more than 3% this week.

Bullard, who does not have a say on the Fed’s policy committee this year but will have a vote in 2022, also said in the interview that the Fed is also starting to discuss the idea of tapering, or cutting back, its bond purchases.
Wall Street is worried about inflation. But investors are also nervous about the Fed taking away the stimulus it injected into the market during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“There is more future volatility ahead,” said Bruce Monrad, portfolio manager of Northeast Investors Trust. “It should increase as the Fed starts to think about raising rates and once it starts tapering.”

These market gyrations could become more routine, which may alarm investors who have gotten used to more calm on Wall Street.

It’s actually been an unusually quiet first half of 2021 — despite the craziness with meme stocks like AMC (AMC) and GameStop (GME) and the big moves in bitcoin (XBT) and other cryptocurrencies.
This cannabis stock is a new Reddit favorite
If you look at the broader stock market, and the VIX (VIX) volatility index in particular, 2021 has been serene for investors.

“Volatility has been very low because the market overall supported by improving earnings,” said Marco Pirondini, head of equity at Amundi US. “But there is always some speculation in other corners of the market.”

The VIX, which many investors refer to as Wall Street’s “fear gauge,” is now hovering around the pre-pandemic levels of February 2020. It’s been steadily declining since peaking in March of last year. The VIX has fallen nearly 15% in 2021.

But the VIX spiked more than 10% Friday morning, and some experts warn that the summer and latter half of 2021 could be a bit bumpier than the first six months of the year.

“When you look at the VIX, it’s eerily quiet. But that’s a little bit misleading,” said Darren Schuringa, CEO and founder of ASYMmetric ETFs, which runs a fund designed to lower investor risk.

Schuringa said he’s concerned about the “speculative excess” in the meme stocks as well as in the tech sector and thinks that a broader market correction could be on the horizon.



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