The Washington Times corrected a story Thursday that falsely claimed Antifa members were identified among the right-wing mob that infiltrated the Capitol on Wednesday. The outlet also apologized to the facial recognition software company at the center of the piece, which was initially deleted Thursday afternoon before being reinstated with the correction.
The story — which was referenced by Rep. Matt Gaetz when he suggested there was left-wing infiltration of the insurrectionists — is no longer on the Times’ site. The link to the piece redirects back to the Times’ home page. According to New York Times reporter Davey Alba, the now-deleted article was the 11th most visited webpage in the U.S. over the last 24 hours.
“Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that XRVision facial recognition software identified Antifa members among rioters who stormed the Capitol Wednesday. XRVision did not identify any Antifa members. The Washington Times apologizes to XRVision for the error,” says the correction.
On Thursday, Buzzfeed News reported that the facial recognition software at the heart of the Times’ story, XRVision, objected to the piece on the grounds that it was false. A lawyer for the company told Buzzfeed News that XRVision asked the Washington Times for a retraction and an apology.
According to a statement from XRVision CTO Yaacov Apelbaum, the original article claimed, “A retired military officer told The Washington Times that the firm XRVision used its software to do facial recognition of protesters and matched two Philadelphia antifa members to two men inside the Senate.”
Apelbaum wrote, “XRVision didn’t generate any composites or detections for the Washington Times or for any ‘retired military officer,’ nor did it authorize them to make any such claims or representations. Additionally, The Washington Times never attempted to contact XRVision to verify their false claim prior publication.”
He pointed out that XRVision did perform an analysis, which returned two matches linking participants in Wednesday’s riot to “Nazi organizations,” not Antifa.