Elon Musk Tweets Meme Blaming Facebook for U.S. Capitol Riot: 'The Domino Effect'

SpaceX and Tesla CEO Elon Musk has tweeted a meme that suggests Facebook is in part to blame for supporters of President Donald Trump storming the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday.

In scenes unprecedented in modern American history, a mob entered the building in an attempt to stop Congress certifying the election victory of Joe Biden, after Trump held a rally in which he repeated false claims that he won.

The events have once again shone a spotlight on how social media platforms such as Facebook are used by extremists.

Musk shared an image of a man setting off a chain of white dominos, which is known as the Domino Effect or Slippery Slope meme. The image is used to signify how a seemingly insignificant event can go on to have big consequences.

Referring to Facebook's origins in Facemash, a website that allowed students at Harvard to rate women's looks, the text box beside the smallest domino reads: "A website to rate women on campus."

The text box by the largest domino features a message from New York Times journalist Mark Leibovich on the newspaper's live stream from Congress, reading: "The Capitol seems to be under the control of a man in a viking hat."

This is called the domino effect pic.twitter.com/qpbEW54RvM

— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) January 7, 2021

A rioter wearing a fur hat with horns, widely referred to as a Viking on social media, was pictured among the extremists who stormed the Capitol. He was later identified as Jake Angeli, who is also known as the Q Shaman or QAnon Shaman.

Musk, who has 41.4 million Twitter followers, tweeted: "This is called the domino effect."

Newsweek has contacted Facebook for comment.

This is not the first time Musk has taken a shot at the social network. In 2018, he deleted SpaceX and Tesla's Facebook pages. Last February he tweeted, "#DeleteFacebook It's lame," in reply to a post by comedian Sacha Baron Cohen, who is a critic of the platform.

On Wednesday, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat temporarily blocked President Trump's accounts. He was not able to use Twitter for 12 hours as of about 7 p.m., and Facebook and Instagram for 24 hours as of around 8:30 p.m. ET.

A video of the president repeating false claims about the election was among the posts that led the platforms to take action. He called the rioters "very special," but asked them to go home. The video was also removed from YouTube.

In a statement announcing that Trump was being blocked, Facebook's Guy Rosen, vice president integrity, and Monika Bickert, vice president global policy management, said: "Let us speak for the leadership team in saying what so many of us are feeling. We are appalled by the violence at the Capitol today. We are treating these events as an emergency."

Facebook was "monitoring activity on our platform in real time," according to the statement.

Rosen and Bickert said the platform had taken actions including removing content that praised and supported the storming of the U.S. Capitol; called for weapons to be brought to locations anywhere in the U.S.; called for protests, peaceful or otherwise, that violated a curfew in DC; and attempted to stage more violence "tomorrow or in the coming days."

elon musk, spacex ceo, getty
SpaceX and Tesla CEO Elon Musk, pictured in March 2020 in Washington, D.C. Musk has shared a tweet appearing to blame Facebook for the U.S. Capitol riots. Win McNamee/Getty Images