Facebook says it will flag all “commentable” posts by politicians, including President Donald Trump, that could incite violence, crack down on voting or violate his other content rules. (June 26) Domestic AP
Facebook removed a network of accounts, groups and pages on Facebook and Instagram connected to the anti-government “boogaloo” movement that encourages violence in the United States.
The social media giant has also designated boogaloo as a dangerous organization, giving the same rating as terrorist and hate groups.
Tuesday’s decision is Facebook’s latest, which, under criticism from civil rights groups for the spread of hatred and other harmful content on their platforms, following widespread protests over George Floyd’s death in police custody last month, became more aggressive in eradicating extremists.
YouTube platforms, owned by Google and Reddit, are also in ruins. On Monday, Reddit said it would ban some 2,000 communities that engage in hate speech, including “r / The_Donald”, which supports President Donald Trump. YouTube said this week that it banned six channels for violating its policies, including those of white supremacists David Duke and Richard Spencer.
Facebook said it removed 220 Facebook accounts and 95 Instagram accounts, as well as 28 pages and 106 groups in the purge. In addition, it took down more than 400 additional groups and more than 100 additional pages for violating its “dangerous individuals and organizations” policy.
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In a blog post on Tuesday, Facebook said it targeted the boogaloo network, which aims to overthrow the government because it was “actively promoting violence against civilians, police and government officials and institutions”.
At the end of Tuesday, BuzzFeed News said it had discovered several paid content related to the boogaloo movement on Facebook and Instagram.
Members of the Boogaloo Movement participate in a demonstration on Saturday at State House in Concord, NH, against the blockade due to concerns about the spread of COVID-19. (Photo: Michael Dwyer / AP)
Sens. Mark Warner, D-Va .; Mazie K. Hirono, D-Hawaii; and Bob Menendez, DN.J., pressured Facebook on Tuesday about the presence of white supremacist groups and extremist content on their platforms.
“The United States is undergoing a long-awaited examination of the systemic racism prevalent in our society. Americans of all races, ages and backgrounds boldly took to the streets to demand equal justice for all, ”they wrote in a letter to CEO Mark Zuckerberg. “While Facebook has tried to publicly align itself with this movement, its failure to deal with the hatred that spreads on its platform reveals significant gaps between Facebook’s stated commitment to racial justice and the company’s commercial actions and interests.”
What is the ‘boogaloo’ movement?
The “boogaloo” movement – named for the 1980s break-dance film “Breakin ‘2: Electric Boogaloo” and characterized by members who carry weapons and tactical equipment and wear Hawaiian shirts – seeks to exploit the unrest to start a second civil war .
The loosely organized group has different wings. One has ties to neo-Nazis and white supremacists and wants to destroy the government by starting a racial war, the other is a radical libertarian and believes in defending the rights of individuals and is known to incite violence against the police.
The Tech Transparency Project, a public research and data initiative, identified about 125 Facebook groups related to the movement, more than half of which were created between February and April and recently attracted tens of thousands of members.
“Online extremists are using Facebook to plan and organize a militant uprising in the United States when they launch coronavirus blockades as a sign of growing government repression,” according to an investigation by the Tech Transparency Project.
Facebook had already taken steps to limit the reach of these groups. In May, it banned the use of the term boogaloo and related words when accompanying images of weapons and calls for action. Facebook also said it would no longer recommend these groups to members of similar associations.
An Air Force sergeant, who prosecutors say is linked to the boogaloo, faces murder charges for the deaths of a California delegate and a federal security officer. He is also accused of injuring five other policemen.
In March, a Missouri man linked to neo-Nazis was shot dead when FBI agents tried to arrest him. Timothy Wilson, 36, was planning to bomb a hospital in the Kansas City area the day a home order was scheduled to take effect, officials said. Wilson told an undercover FBI agent that his goal was to “start a revolution” and referred to his plans as “Operation Boogaloo,” according to an agent’s statement.
In May, three suspected members of the boogaloo were arrested on terrorism-related charges, which federal prosecutors say is a conspiracy to provoke violence during protests in Las Vegas for reopening business and the death of George Floyd. Authorities say the three white men filled gas cans and made Molotov cocktails in glass bottles and went to a Black Lives Matter protest, according to a copy of the criminal complaint.
Contribution: Khrysgiana Pineda and Ed Komenda, Reno Gazette Journal
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