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On Trump's Truth Social, anti-FBI sentiment builds with little oversight

The small social media platform backed by former President Trump's media company was an echo chamber of anger leading up to an incident in Ohio that left one user dead.
A crest of the Federal Bureau of Investigation is on Aug. 3, 2007 inside the J. Edgar Hoover FBI Building in Washington, DC.
A crest of the Federal Bureau of Investigation is on Aug. 3, 2007 inside the J. Edgar Hoover FBI Building in Washington, DC.Mandel NGan / AFP via Getty Images file

Posts on Truth Social in which users call for civil war and advocate for violence against the FBI remained online Friday, some of them days after they were originally posted, according to a search by NBC News.

Truth Social, the Twitter-like social media platform backed by former President Donald Trump's media and technology company, was thrust into the national spotlight Thursday after it was found that Ricky Shiffer, the man who attempted to break into an Ohio FBI building with a nail gun while armed with a rifle, had posted violent threats against the FBI on the platform.

Shiffer's profile was no longer publicly available as of Thursday night, but posts from other users that contained similar vitriol were still visible Friday.

“Is the fbi provoking the 80 million patriots to start a civil war?” one user wrote a day before the attack. Another wrote, “They need to be real careful!” They just might get what their looking for!”

"The Democrats/FBI have declared war," another user wrote Thursday. "Lock and load. Take these traders out."

Vitriol directed at the FBI from Trump supporters has continued to percolate, with Truth Social offering fertile ground. As of Friday afternoon, four of the top eight hashtags displayed on Truth Social were critical of the FBI, including #EndTheFBI, #DefundTheFBI and #FBIcorruption.

Truth Social did not respond to a request for comment.

Shiffer appeared to post on Truth Social about his attempt to get into the FBI building Thursday morning. Between the FBI raid on Trump’s residence on Monday and Thursday, Shiffer posted numerous times about his anger at the FBI, urging people to prepare for “combat.”

Shiffer died in a standoff with police.

Truth Social launched in February and debuted with a long waitlist and an intense critical reception. Trump had billed the app as an alternative platform that he said would allow everyone to live without social media censorship. Its rollout, though, had several technical hiccups, and over time users have discovered that there are limits to what is allowed on the platform. Nonprofit consumer advocacy group Public Citizen published a report with findings showing that Truth censored conversations about abortion rights and the Jan. 6 riot, for instance.

After a slow start, Truth Social has attracted a small but dedicated user base that is largely devoted to Trump, who began posting to the platform in late April. That led to a jolt of downloads that has since stagnated, though certain moments such as the Jan. 6 hearings have driven spikes in downloads.

Truth Social's lax moderation — its moderation FAQ says the app seeks to create a free speech haven in the social media sphere and encourages your unencumbered free expression — combined with its Trump-focused fan base have made it a hotbed for content that would typically be taken down on other platforms.

Like other social media platforms, Truth Social has a terms of service that are meant to stop users from posting things like violent threats or face consequences such as suspension or a full ban.

Truth Social has in the past said it uses artificial intelligence-powered content moderation to enforce those rules, though searches by NBC News quickly turned up threats against the FBI that were several days old.