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Facebook bans extremist 'boogaloo' group from its platforms

Guardian Technology 30 Jun 2020 08:55
Facebook has banned a group associated with the broader ‘boogaloo’ movement. Photograph: Dado Ruvić/Reuters

Facebook has banned an extremist anti-government network associated with the term “boogaloo”, a slang word supporters use to refer to a second civil war.

Tuesday’s move by Facebook designates the rightwing “boogaloo” network as a dangerous organization similar to the Islamic State group and white supremacists, both of which are already banned from its service.

The ban comes months after researchers began warning Facebook that the “boogaloo” groups flourishing on its platform were full of people discussing violence against government officials and sharing guerrilla combat tactics.

Reports from outside groups released in February and then in April both warned that the “boogaloo” was a dangerous anti-government group trying to incite violence against law enforcement officials.

While Facebook began to take down some “boogaloo” posts and groups this spring, it did not announce sweeping action against the extremist movement on its platform until after two law enforcement officials had already been killed in California.

But Newhouse said that he and other researchers had already identified at least 20 “boogaloo” groups which were still live on Facebook after the ban, including some that were direct backups or clones of pages that had been banned.

“Boogaloo” supporters have shown up at protests over Covid-19 lockdown orders, carrying rifles and wearing tactical gear over Hawaiian shirts. Facebook said the movement dates back to 2012 and that it has been tracking it closely since last year.

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FacebookIslamic State groupAlex NewhouseCenter on Terrorism ExtremismMiddlebury Institute for International Studies
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