Before many people had a chance to fully read through the Fulton County, Ga., indictment against former President Donald Trump and 18 co-defendants, malicious online actors had already done their work.
On a far-right website, where the QAnon conspiracy theory originated, an anonymous user on Tuesday shared a list of the 23 grand jurors with their supposed full names, ages and addresses. Amid a torrent of other posts speculating on the race and religion of the jurors, and rife with derogatory slurs, the implication was clear: This was a target list.
In Georgia — unlike in federal cases, for example — it is standard practice to list the names of grand jurors in indictments. But given the high profile nature of this case and an increasing appetite among Americans for political violence, some are wondering whether more might have been done to safeguard jurors’ privacy.
“I don’t know what the jurors knew before going into this,” said Sara Aniano, disinformation analyst at the Anti-Defamation League’s Center on Extremism. “If they were briefed on the risks, then maybe that’s all that could have been done.”
So far, Aniano said the list of jurors’ supposed personal information has not been widely circulated. She said she found it on only three social media platforms, popular with the QAnon and MAGA communities.
Nonetheless, she said it’s still concerning.
“It doesn’t take all that much to get that information into the wrong hands, especially if they know where to go,” she said. “And it doesn’t take many wrong hands to lead to harassment or potentially violence.” [Continue reading…]