BY LUKE BARR and CATHERINE THORBECKE, ABC NEWS
(NEW YORK) — Facebook announced the removal of 220 accounts, 28 pages and 106 groups that are associated with the little-known but emerging movement called “boogaloo.”
The company also said they removed 95 Instagram accounts connected to the group. Instagram is owned by Facebook.
Federal court documents define boogaloo as a “term used by extremists to signify a coming civil war and/or fall of civilization.”
“For months, we have removed boogaloo content when there is a clear connection to violence or a credible threat to public safety, and today’s designation will mean we remove more content going forward, including Facebook Groups and Pages,” according to the social media company. “This violent network is banned from having a presence on our platform and we will remove content praising, supporting or representing it.”
In the past month, three suspected boogaloo-movement followers allegedly tried to fire bomb a Black Lives Matter protest in Las Vegas and in Oakland, California, a Federal Protective Services contract officer and Santa Cruz Sheriff’s sergeant were killed and a suspected boogaloo movement follower was charged.
“These acts of real-world violence and our investigations into them are what led us to identify and designate this distinct network,” the company said in a statement.
Facebook said the movement started as early as 2012 and they’ve been tracking it since.
Experts told ABC News, that there is not a single ideology for boogaloo members, but that the one common thread is that they are anti-government.
“I don’t think there’s a central core belief either in the movement. There’s a range of different grievances or different potential individuals who they believe are legitimate targets,” said Javed Ali, a former counterterrorism official and visiting professor at the University of Michigan.
Facebook said that they have concluded that some people who took part in the January 2020 gun rights rally in Richmond, Virginia, “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.”
“We will continue to study new trends, including the language and symbols this network shares online so we can take the necessary steps to keep those who proclaim a violent mission off our platform,” the company said.
The move comes as the company faces mounting pressure to respond to hate on its platforms and amid a growing ad boycott that started at the urging of the NAACP and other civil rights organizations.
In a matter of weeks, the Facebook ad boycott has grown from just a handful of companies to include multinational conglomerate Unilever, telecom giant Verizon and coffeehouse chain Starbucks.
Organizers of the ad boycott say the social media giant does not do enough to combat hate, violence and racism on its platforms. Facebook responded with a series of policy updates, but late last week, organizers with the Stop Hate for Profit Coalition said the moves were insufficient in combatting hate — especially within groups and posts.
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