Facebook stepped up the battle against the amorphous anti-government “boogaloo” movement on Tuesday, banning accounts of adherents who encouraged violence during recent anti-racism protests across the United States.
Facebook said it was designating the faction of the boogaloo movement that advocates violence as a “dangerous organization” and had taken down 220 accounts, 28 pages, 106 groups, and 95 accounts on Facebook-owned Instagram that were associated with it. The social media platform said it also had removed 400 more Facebook accounts and more than 100 additional groups that supported or praised the violent network.
Facebook’s move against the boogaloo movement came after federal prosecutors charged several adherents of the movement with crimes across the United States, including the murder of a security officer at a federal courthouse in Oakland, Calif., and a plot to use explosives at a demonstration in Las Vegas protesting the police killing of George Floyd.
Facebook said its policy was a blunt instrument that included removing praise for the banned network and shared pictures so that many who thought posts were funny will also see their material taken down. The targeted network includes 106 Facebook groups and 220 accounts, and another 400 groups were also removed for hosting similar content.
“This violent network is banned from having a presence on our platform and we will remove content praising, supporting, or representing it,” Facebook said in a blog post. “It is actively promoting violence against civilians, law enforcement, and government officials and institutions.”
Facebook’s team of 350 people that identifies and investigates hate groups and terrorist organizations on the site had already taken steps to remove more than 800 boogaloo-related posts for violating its policy against inciting violence. The company also banned boogaloo posts with violent images and stopped promoting connected groups and pages.
“We’re vehemently opposed to the idea of using violence to get your point across. We get kind of shoehorned into the idea of being violent extremists because we support the Second Amendment,” one of the administrators said in reference to the US Constitution’s right to bear arms.