Facebook Bans Large Segment of Boogaloo Movement--3rd Update
By David Uberti and Rachael Levy
Facebook Inc. has classified a large segment of the boogaloo
movement as a dangerous organization and banned it from its
network, in the tech company's broadest move yet against the
The company said in a blog post it removed more than 300
Facebook and Instagram accounts and 106 groups tied to a
boogaloo-affiliated network "that actively seeks to commit
violence." The removals came alongside an additional takedown of
400 groups and 100 pages that hosted content broadly supportive of
the boogaloo movement.
Composed mostly of young white males who often call themselves
"boogaloo bois," the loose-knit movement grew its ranks in recent
years on social media, mainly Facebook.
Its adherents views' are wide-ranging, with a focus on
overturning authority, according to researchers who track extremist
organizations. Some have supported anti-racism protests against
police brutality in recent months, but others are white
supremacists who hold antigovernment views, believe strongly in gun
rights and traffic in conspiracy theories, researchers said.
The movement appears to have no leader or central structure.
Facebook's ban on Tuesday comes after some employees staged a
virtual walkout in early June over the decision to leave up a post
about nationwide demonstrations by President Trump that said, "When
the looting starts, the shooting starts." Civil rights groups have
since criticized Facebook over its approach to hate speech, while
several corporations, including Verizon Communications Inc. and
Coca-Cola Co., pulled advertising from the platform in protest.
Facebook removed the boogaloo accounts after a targeted
investigation by human analysts, officials said. The social-media
giant has increasingly turned to the tactic to assess networks that
actively try to avoid its automated tools to monitor content.
Those systems rely on "hashes," or digital fingerprints that
identify extremist propaganda and artificial intelligence-based
"classifiers" trained to evaluate content like a human reviewer.
They proved effective at minimizing jihadist groups such as the
Islamic State on the platform in recent years.
But human-led takedowns could be more important for far-right or
white supremacist groups, company officials said. Such content
tends to be more decentralized and often share hard-to-decipher
content laced with irony and sarcasm, the company officials added.
Such a targeted investigation in March removed the Northwest Front,
a white supremacist group that advocates for a white ethnostate in
the Pacific Northwest.
Facebook's move Tuesday doesn't ban boogaloo content altogether.
The company said it sought to ban a wide-ranging boogaloo network
that is nonetheless "distinct from the broader and
loosely-affiliated boogaloo movement because it actively seeks to
The social-media giant expects many of the boogaloo users to
move their discussions to other companies' platforms but is
limiting its help to other companies, said a Facebook official
familial the operation. The official didn't elaborate on why the
company isn't sharing its intelligence.
Facebook also won't share that information with the Global
Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism, a private-public consortium
designed to prevent extremists from exploiting tech platforms,
because it focuses on individuals and groups designated on the
United Nations' consolidated sanctions list. The consortium shares
information among members and aids smaller tech companies with
fewer security resources to police their platforms.
Content moderation is often more difficult with far-right or
white supremacist groups, which governments in the U.S. and Europe
don't always legally designate as terrorist organizations, said
Nicholas Rasmussen, executive director of the Global Internet Forum
to Counter Terrorism.
Facebook has put more than 250 white supremacist groups on its
dangerous organizations list, company officials said, putting them
alongside jihadist organizations such as al Qaeda.
In recent months, Facebook took steps to remove boogaloo-related
content as the movement gained public attention. The company
removed the account of an Air Force sergeant who allegedly killed
two officers in California and who authorities said had boogaloo
ties. The company removed 800 posts that called for violence in the
past two months and also removed boogaloo-linked pages and groups
from Facebook's recommendations.
Write to David Uberti at email@example.com and Rachael Levy
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
June 30, 2020 17:16 ET (21:16 GMT)
Copyright (c) 2020 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
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