Facebook announced that is banning a far-right antigovernment “boogaloo” group from its platform. The social-media giant, under fire from marketers and critics for not doing enough to stop hate and harassment, said it “is the latest step in our commitment to ban people who proclaim a violent mission from using our platform.”
The company said it had identified the “violent U.S.-based antigovernment network” that uses the boogaloo name and is banning it permanently under the company’s Dangerous Individuals and Organizations policy.
The group “is actively promoting violence against civilians, law enforcement and government officials and institutions,” Facebook said Tuesday in a statement. “Members of this network seek to recruit others within the broader boogaloo movement, sharing the same content online and adopting the same offline appearance as others in the movement to do so.”
Facebook said it removed 220 Facebook accounts, 95 Instagram accounts, 28 Pages and 106 groups that currently comprise the boogaloo network in question. It also removed over 400 additional groups and over 100 other Pages that hosted similar content (but were maintained by accounts outside of it).
The move comes as Facebook faces a growing cascade of marketers who have said they are suspending ads from the company, spurred by the #StopHateForProfit campaign organized by the the Anti-Defamation League, NAACP and other organizations. The initiative aims to pressure Facebook into adopting more aggressive steps to combat hate and harassment.
Several major advertisers in the past week have announced they are suspending ad spending on Facebook (and, in some cases, Twitter) for varying lengths of time, stating concern about hate speech and “brand safety.” Those include Unilever, Ford, Microsoft, Target, Hershey’s, the Coca-Cola Co., Verizon, Pfizer, Starbucks, Denny’s, Eddie Bauer, HP and Patagonia.
The loosely affiliated boogaloo movement adopted its name from the 1984 movie “Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo.” Its followers comprise a range of antigovernment activists “who generally believe civil conflict in the U.S. is inevitable,” per Facebook’s description. Facebook said some of the participants at the Gun Rights Rally in Richmond, Va., on Jan. 20, 2020, wore the outfit now typical for boogaloo adherents “and we have since tracked the movement’s expansion as participants engage at various protests and rallies across the country.” The company said government officials have identified several attacks over the past few months carried out by boogaloo-affiliated actors, which is is what prompted Facebook to identify — and ban — the “distinct network” of violent activists.
Facebook said this isn’t the first time it has taken action against “violence within the boogaloo movement,” claiming it has removed more than 800 posts for violating its Violence and Incitement policy over the last two months. In addition, it has limited the distribution of Facebook pages and groups referencing the movement by removing them from recommendations on Facebook.
Pictured above: Members of the boogaloo movement attend a demonstration against the COVID-19 lockdown at the State House in Concord, N.H. in April 2020