Facebook has labeled the extremist anti-government Boogaloo movement a ‘dangerous organization’ and banned 500 groups and pages, as the social media giant tries to rebuild its reputation amid the ongoing ad boycott.
The platform announced Tuesday it has banned hundreds of accounts, groups and pages linked to the Boogaloo movement, in what it describes as the ‘latest step in our commitment to ban people who proclaim a violent mission from using our platform’.
This includes the removal of 220 accounts, 28 pages, 106 groups, and 95 Instagram accounts which are part of the extremist network and pose a ‘credible threat’ to public safety, it said.
Facebook also removed another 400 groups and 100-plus pages that were hosting ‘similar content’ affiliated with the core network but not operated by the core members.
This comes as more than 160 companies have now pulled advertising on Facebook in the last week as part of the Stop Hate for Profit campaign, which accuses the company of failing to tackle hate speech and racism posted on its platform.
People, including those with the Boogaloo movement, at an anti-lockdown protest in Michigan in May. Facebook has labeled the extremist anti-government Boogaloo movement a ‘dangerous organization’ and banned 500 groups and pages
A member of Boogaloo Bois walks next to protestors demonstrating outside Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department in downtown Charlotte, North Carolina, in May during a racial justice rally
Facebook said the large-scale removal of Boogaloo content and sites should help slow the movement in its tracks in using the platform to recruit new members and to share content.
‘Today we are designating a violent US-based anti-government network as a dangerous organization and banning it from our platform,’ Facebook’s statement on the news read.
‘This network uses the term boogaloo but is distinct from the broader and loosely-affiliated boogaloo movement because it actively seeks to commit violence.’
Facebook added that the accounts were ‘actively promoting violence against civilians, law enforcement, and government officials and institutions.’
The labeling of Boogaloo as a ‘dangerous organization’ puts it on a par with the Islamic State group and white supremacists, both of which are already banned from its service.
The Boogaloo movement, run by people a group known as the Boogaloo Bois, is a loosely organized extremist far-right and anti-government movement which counts white supremacists in its fan base and aspires to incite a violent civil war across America.
Some heavily armed Boogaloo Bois have been seen popping up at anti-lockdown and racial justice rallies in recent months.
Mark Zuckerberg. The platform announced Tuesday it has banned hundreds of accounts, groups and pages linked to the Boogaloo movement, in what it describes as the ‘latest step in our commitment to ban people who proclaim a violent mission from using our platform’
Facebook said the movement dates back to 2012 and that it has been tracking it closely since last year.
Earlier in June, Steven Carrillo, an Air Force sergeant with ties to the movement, allegedly shot dead a federal security officer and wounded his partner outside a US courthouse, ambushed and killed a California sheriff’s deputy and injured four other officers in Oakland, California.
According to the criminal complaint, Carrillo posted in a Facebook group before the attack: ‘It’s on our coast now, this needs to be nationwide. It’s a great opportunity to target the specialty soup bois. Keep that energy going.’
‘Soup bois’ is thought to be a term that followers of the boogaloo movement use to refer to federal law enforcement agents.
Facebook joined other tech firms in coming down hard on the movement after instant messaging firm Discord shut down the biggest boogaloo server and deleted the accounts of all 2,500 of its users.
Some of the accounts and posts linked to the Boogaloo movement. The Boogaloo movement, run by people a group known as the Boogaloo Bois, is a loosely organized extremist far-right and anti-government movement which counts white supremacists in its fan base and aspires to incite a violent civil war across America
The users switched to an affiliated Facebook page and a subreddit, according to VICE News, leading Reddit to take the subreddit down and Facebook follow suit Tuesday.
However, they all face a difficult task to remove all references to the far-right group, as its internet-savvy members tend to keep their distance from one another and frequently change their symbols and catchphrases to avoid detection.
Social media giants are coming under increasing pressure to clamp down on hate speech posted on their platforms.
In the last week, more than 160 companies including some of the biggest advertisers Coca-Cola, Unilever and Starbucks have all ceased advertising their products on Facebook as part of the Stop Hate for Profit campaign.
The advertising boycott was organized by several civil rights groups, including the Anti-Defamation League, the NAACP and Sleeping Giants, who argue that Facebook and other social media platforms have not done enough to address racism, hate speech and misinformation on their platforms.
Facebook makes an estimated $70 billion annually from ads, the coalition claimed in a statement on the ADL website – so with some of its biggest clients pulling the plug on ad spend it’s marked a major blow to the firm.
Clorox has joined the growing list of brands to have pulled its advertisements from Facebook in a protest over the social media giant’s perceived failure to stop the spread of hate on its platform
Ford then on Monday also put the brakes on all national social-media advertising for 30 days, as it re-evaluates spending on sites. Restaurant chain Denny’s said it is pausing paid advertising on Facebook starting Wednesday.
Cleaning goods giant Clorox joined the growing list of brands Monday in announcing it will be suspending all advertisements on the social media site through the end of the year.
‘As a people-centered company committed to our values, we feel compelled to take action against hate speech, which we believe will increase through the balance of the year,’ Clorox said in a Monday statement. ‘This creates an increasingly unhealthy environment for people and our purpose-driven brands.’
The Clorox Company, which also includes brands Hidden Valley Ranch and Brita, added that it would ‘maintain our planned level of advertising spending but shift to other media.’
This came after Ford also put the brakes on all national social-media advertising for 30 days, restaurant chain Denny’s said it is pausing paid advertising on Facebook starting Wednesday and Adidas, Pepsi and Best Buy all announced similar boycotts.
Coca-Cola pulled its advertisements from Facebook Friday, saying it wasn’t officially joining the boycott, but that it had paused on paid advertising across all social media platforms globally for at least 30 days.
A similar announcement was made by Unilever that day, which was then followed by Starbucks, who said it working with civil rights groups to ‘stop the spread of hate speech’ and would be ending all social media ads, but wasn’t officially joining the boycott at this time.
Zuckerberg said in a Facebook Live video on Friday that the company would begin labeling ‘harmful’ content from politicians that remains ‘newsworthy’
Some major companies that have joined Facebook ad boycott
- Eddie Bauer
- Eileen Fisher
- Ben & Jerry’s
- North Face
- Rakuten Viber
- Magnolia Pictures
- Goodby Silverstein
- Best Buy
CEO Mark Zuckerberg buckled under the pressure Friday and announced new content policies for the platform, including tighter restrictions on advertising and labels for ‘harmful’ posts from public figures.
In a Facebook Live video he announced the company would begin labeling ‘harmful’ content from politicians that remains ‘newsworthy’.
‘We will soon start labeling some of the content we leave up because it is deemed newsworthy, so people can know when this is the case,’ Zuckerberg said in the livestream.
‘We’ll allow people to share this content to condemn it, just like we do with other problematic content, because this is an important part of how we discuss what’s acceptable in our society – but we’ll add a prompt to tell people that the content they’re sharing may violate our policies,’ he continued.
Zuckerberg also announced new policies cracking down on hateful language in ads, as well as guidelines on voting information.
‘We already restrict certain types of content in ads that we allow in regular posts, but we want to do more to prohibit the kind of divisive and inflammatory language that has been used to sow discord,’ Zuckerberg said.
‘So today we’re prohibiting a wider category of hateful content in ads. Specifically, we’re expanding our ads policy to prohibit claims that people from a specific race, ethnicity, national origin, religious affiliation, caste, sexual orientation, gender identity or immigration status are a threat to the physical safety, health or survival of others,’ he said.
‘We’re also expanding our policies to better protect immigrants, migrants, refugees and asylum seekers from ads suggesting these groups are inferior or expressing contempt, dismissal or disgust directed at them,’ he continued.
Though he did not name Trump, the policy comes in response to a campaign demanding Facebook impose tighter restrictions on ‘misinformation’ in the president’s campaign ads, and on his inflammatory posts.
Twitter had already placed warning labels on some of the president’s tweets that it deemed abusive or threatening, and unlike Facebook, Twitter banned all political campaign ads.
Zuckerberg slammed the move when Twitter first labeled a Trump tweet, saying it wasn’t up to social media companies to be the ‘arbiters of truth’.
Hundreds of Facebook employees even staged a virtual walkout earlier this month after company executives declined to add a warning label to President Trump’s post that looting would lead to shooting during nationwide protests against racial inequality.
Facebook saw its shares drop $56 billion in valuation Friday as companies joined a campaign asking the social media giant to remove hate speech from its platform
More big firms join the #StopHateforProfit campaign
Facebook is facing growing pressure over its hands-off approach to misinformation and inflammatory posts, including posts by US President Donald Trump that have received heavy criticism.
A number of civil rights groups last week launched the ‘#StopHateforProfit’ campaign, encouraging companies to pull ads from Facebook.
North Face, based in California, was the first to join the campaign, with the Anti-Defamation League, the NAACP, Sleeping Giants, Free Press and Common Sense following suit.
Starbucks, Unilever, Coca-Cola, Ford, Adidas and HP have also pulled adverts.
The campaign took out a full page ad in the Los Angeles Times pushing for companies to boycott Facebook. The social media giant reportedly made close to $70 billion in ad revenues last year.
‘What would you do with $70billion?’ the #StopHateForProfit ad asks.
‘We know what Facebook did. They allowed incitement to violence against protesters fighting for racial justice in America in the wake of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, Ahmaud Arbery, Rayshard Brooks and so many others’.
The ad goes on to accuse Facebook of ‘turning a blind eye to voter suppression’ and ‘amplifying white supremacists’.
A statement from Facebook in response to the boycott also said the company invests billions each year to ensure safety and continuously works with outside experts to review and update its policies.
The company has banned 250 white supremacist organizations from Facebook and Instagram, she said, adding that the company’s substantial investment artificial intelligence technology allows Facebook to find nearly 90 percent of hate speech before users report it.
‘We know we have more work to do, and we’ll continue to work with civil rights groups, GARM, and other experts to develop even more tools, technology and policies to continue this fight,’ the spokesperson added.
But the move has come too little too late, with the mounting number of boycotting brands erasing a staggering $56 billion from Facebook’s market value Friday.
Major companies including Unilever and Coca-Cola pulled their advertisements from the social media giant that day, joining the likes of Dove, Honda and Ben & Jerry’s and sending shares in the platform crashing to their lowest in three months.
This dealt a hefty $7.2 billion blow to Zuckerberg’s personal fortune, pushing him down from third to fourth place on Bloomberg Billionaires Index and leaving him with a new net worth of $82.3 billion.
Other Silicon Valley firms have also taken steps to distance themselves from the
Reddit this week removed 2,000 subreddits, including the longstanding and highly controversial pro-Trump subreddit called ‘The_Donald’ which had about 800,000 followers and has long faced calls to be taken down.
YouTube announced its own ban on a number of white supremacist channels too as social media firms are increasingly coming under scrutiny over their response to hate speech posted on their sites.